More reflection on Orioles playoff ouster and moving on from it (Birdland Caravan returns)

henderson alds 2023

More than two months have passed since the Orioles lost to the Rangers in the Division Series. The first sweep by an opponent since May 2022. The finality knocking the sounds out of the visiting clubhouse at Globe Life Field, leaving players sitting in silence at their lockers.

The hurt lessens for some but the mind can’t forget.

“It hasn't eased for me,” manager Brandon Hyde said at the Winter Meetings.

“I think that there's a lot of disappointment. And I'm really proud of our season, I don't want to take that for granted. To win our division, to win over a hundred games, to have the individual performances and team performances that we had, it says a lot about our roster and our guys and how we have some really good players. But you do that and then you fall short like we did, that takes a while to go away. So, it hasn't gone away for me yet.”

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias called the sweep “a gut punch” during one his media sessions in Nashville.

Continue reading

Hyde on playoffs: "That was a great experience for us but we want to go further”

hyde contemplating

NASHVILLE – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde can’t let it go completely.

The sweep in the American League Division Series isn’t causing him sleepless nights, but he said today that “it hasn’t eased for me.” The time hasn't healed the wounds.

“There was a lot of disappointment,” Hyde said during today’s media session at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. “I’m really proud of our season. I don’t want to take that for granted. To win our division, to win over 100 games, to have the individual performances and team performances that we had, it says a lot about our roster and our guys. We have some really good players, but you do that and then you fall short like we did, it takes a while to go away.

“It hasn’t gone away for me yet.”

The Orioles posted the best record in the American League, but they need to push further. Perhaps it happens through roster upgrades. Or maybe it’s just a natural progression after experiencing the rigors of October baseball.

Continue reading

Random take Tuesday: The wall, Bruce Bochy and more


Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees might not like it, but Orioles fans are probably growing to like the deeper dimensions in left field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Over two years now, it has produced fewer homers and ended the day of the so-called cheap homer to left center. But it also has led to more O’s wins. The 2022 team, coming off 110 losses, went 45-36 at home. That club was eighth in the AL in home ERA at 3.73 and fifth scoring 4.23 runs per game at Oriole Park.

The 2023 club went 49-32 at home, third-best in the AL. The team ERA ranked sixth at 3.82 and the O’s scored 4.47 runs per game at home, which was eighth in the league.

At his season-ending press conference, O’s executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias was asked about the wall. Could it be changed or altered in the coming years?

“Look I’m glad we did it,” said Elias. “It coincided with winning baseball in Baltimore and a better style of baseball which is kind of one of the things we talked about it. Is it perfect? Is it the exact perfect dimensions? Does it look perfect and is it going to stay that way forever? No, and I don’t know.

Continue reading

Leftover thoughts and observations from the ALDS

gibson v BOS

The end was laid out early for us, the six runs scored over the first two innings in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. And yet, it felt so abrupt. Funny how that works.

A strikeout with two down in the top of the ninth inning, Rangers sprinting out of the dugout to celebrate, Orioles staying in theirs to watch and maybe learn. The hurt so evident later.

“It doesn’t really feel real right now,” said catcher Adley Rutschman.

Everyone looked like they were in a haze.

I could carry away so many images from the 2023 season, but I may be stuck with the sight of players sitting in front of their lockers after the media entered. Pretty much a full room, which is highly unusual. It actually was jarring. And not a sound made. Just blank stares.

Continue reading

Orioles swept in ALDS with 7-1 loss in Game 3 (updated)


ARLINGTON, Texas – Rookie Jordan Westburg struck out on three pitches, and the Orioles ran out of comebacks. Out of chances to keep playing. They’re going home, and not to host the decisive game.

A team that wasn’t swept in its last 91 series couldn’t squeeze a win out of the ALDS.

Dean Kremer allowed six runs in 1 2/3 innings, with homers by Corey Seager and Adolis García traveling a combined 863 feet, and the Rangers rolled to a 7-1 win in Game 3 before an announced sellout crowd of 40,861, the largest ever at Globe Life Field.

The 101 wins in the regular season and first division title since 2014 must suffice. The launch out of the rebuild and the promise of many playoff teams in the future.

Players had to deal with the present as they sat in the dugout and watched the Rangers celebrate, then made the painful walk back to their clubhouse. The best record in the league didn’t give them a pass.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Orioles and Rangers Game 3 lineups

mullins hr @HOU

ARLINGTON, Texas – A must-win Game 3 for the Orioles brings changes to their lineup against Rangers right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.

Ryan O’Hearn gets his first start, batting fifth and serving as designated hitter. Adam Frazier is playing second base and batting ninth.

Gunnar Henderson is leading off.

Cedric Mullins is batting seventh, followed by third baseman Jordan Westburg.

Dean Kremer gets the call over veteran Kyle Gibson. He’s posted a 3.59 ERA in his last 26 starts.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Orioles leftovers from Game 2 of ALDS

Anthony Santander orange jersey

The first batter that Yennier Cano faced last night in the top of the ninth inning, Rangers rookie Josh Jung, slapped a double down the right field line. Beyond the fence in left-center was veteran Kyle Gibson warming in the bullpen.

A reliever in an immediate jam. A starter perhaps getting ready to replace him.

What made it a curious situation was Gibson’s candidacy to start Game 3 of the Division Series Tuesday night in Arlington. Did manager Brandon Hyde show his hand?

Hyde told the media earlier in the day that he’d announce his starter during Monday’s workout, with the only choices Gibson or Dean Kremer. No one else qualified after John Means came down with elbow soreness that kept him off the roster.

Perhaps the decision hinged on whether the Orioles were down 0-2 or tied 1-1.

Continue reading

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:

Continue reading

Orioles move within game of elimination in ALDS following 11-8 loss (updated)


Grayson Rodriguez handed the ball to manager Brandon Hyde, walked to the dugout without raising his head and bolted down the steps. Too brisk a pace for teammates to reach out to him. Nothing they could have done anyway to soothe him.

The rookie was put in a tough spot. He didn’t make it through the second inning.

Can the Orioles make it past the Division Series?

They are teetering on the edge after today’s 11-8 loss to the Rangers in Game 2, played before an announced sellout crowd of 46,475 at Camden Yards. Aaron Hicks greeted José Leclerc with a three-run homer in the ninth, but the deficit was too large to overcome.

Mitch Garver hit a grand slam off Jacob Webb in the third after Bryan Baker walked the bases loaded. Nine runs on the board. A team in distress.

Continue reading

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. 

Continue reading

Orioles lose Game 1 of Division Series 3-2 (updated)

Kyle Bradish ALDS Game 1 white

The sun finally came out at Camden Yards, followed by outfielders Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays.

The crowd erupted, less than an hour before first pitch. Two players jogging out of the dugout for pregame stretching eliciting cheers. The dam bursting after playoff excitement had been contained for so long.

Then came the scoreboard countdown to introductions, men and women decked out in orange gear waving towels of the same color. Adam Jones threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Mullins and kept motioning for the place to get louder, as if the volume button had another notch.

Kyle Bradish leaped over the first base line, pounded his fist in his glove and struck out Rangers leadoff hitter Marcus Semien on three pitches. The postseason returned to Baltimore and it didn’t enter quietly.

Orioles fans filed out that way. But there’s always tomorrow.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

More on Orioles' ALDS roster and being home for Game 1 (updated)

Hays and Santander celebrate

The Orioles knew in advance that they wanted to keep 14 position players and reduce their pitching staff to 12 for the American League Division Series.

They weren’t expecting John Means to be missing, his elbow soreness after Thursday’s simulated game creating an opening for reliever Bryan Baker.

Plan ahead and prepare to pivot.

Manager Brandon Hyde didn’t confirm that Means was going to start prior to the elbow issue, calling him “a candidate.” And he didn’t reveal who would take the mound for Game 3 Tuesday night in Arlington.

Dean Kremer and Kyle Gibson are locked into the rotation based on Means’ disappearance from it. One of them seemed to be headed to the bullpen.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Elbow soreness prevents Means from joining Orioles' ALDS roster (plus lineups)

means returns v STL

John Means isn’t on the Orioles roster for the American League Division Series due to elbow soreness that cropped up after Thursday’s simulated game at Camden Yards.

Manager Brandon Hyde expressed confidence that Means would be ready for the Championship Series if the Orioles advance to the next round.

“Felt like he needed a few days off,” Hyde said.

“Meansy was going to be a candidate to start one of these games and it means we got … We feel great about our starting pitching depth. And Dean (Kremer) and Kyle Gibson both threw the ball extremely well this year. We're hoping that John can take a few days off, rehab, and hopefully if we can advance that he'll be available for the next series.

Hyde said the soreness isn’t “concerning.”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Orioles bring same season vibe into playoffs


Adley Rutschman sat with a smile on his face for most of his 11 ½-minute session with the media yesterday. Happy to be in the playoffs. Able to enjoy the attention and focus that he usually tries to deflect. Thrilled to talk about his teammates and how they got here.

“I'm super excited,” he said. “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. There's nothing more you can really ask for. The opportunity to do something like this is amazing. You kind of cherish it.”

“That's why I'm smiling,” he added, “and I just crushed a cold brew, so …”

Catcher turned caffeinated comedian.

If the Orioles are nervous about playing in the Division Series, with Game 1 today at 1:07 p.m., they’re doing a marvelous job of hiding it.

Continue reading