Dylan Bundy throws well, but O's are a run short in series opener

Dylan Bundy throws well, but O's are a run short in series opener
The Orioles had gone 11 straight games without a quality start. They just lost three straight to the New York Yankees and gave up 32 runs in getting swept. They could use a well-pitched game tonight. But could they get one against a surging and division-leading Houston Astros club? One that had won six in a row and nine of 10, and had scored 25 runs the last two games and 54 over its last six? The Orioles did get a well-pitched game from starter Dylan Bundy, but the O's offense was pretty...
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Nationals have chance to duplicate 2005 Astros' remarkable turnaround

Nationals have chance to duplicate 2005 Astros' remarkable turnaround
As Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt studied videos of Cardinals batters in preparation for Game 6 of the 2005 National League Championship Series - the biggest game in Houston franchise history - he got an unusual interruption. Astros owner Drayton McLane came up to Oswalt and promised to buy him a bulldozer if he could pitch the team into the World Series for the first time. The incentive worked. Oswalt pitched seven strong innings and beat the Cardinals 5-1 in St. Louis, sending the Astros to the...
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As the holidays approach, some answers to pressing baseball questions

As the holidays approach, some answers to pressing baseball questions
Here are answers to questions that might come up at family gatherings over the holidays: Question: The White Sox haven't had a winning record since winning 85 games in 2012. Why would Bryce Harper or Manny Machado consider going to Chicago's South Side? Answer: The White Sox hope to have two things going for them: money and a team that is loaded with young talent. The White Sox, tired of playing in the shadow of the crosstown Cubs, have to get Harper or Machado to believe that they would be...
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World Series over, a world of speculation about free agents begins

World Series over, a world of speculation about free agents begins
Prepare yourself: The baseball offseason is here, and that means a never-ending stream of speculation about trades and free agent signings. John Schuerholz, former general manager of the Atlanta Braves, used to accuse reporters of blowing even the tiniest tidbit of conversation out of proportion. "Reporters take a kernel of popcorn and turn it into a large bag immediately," he said. In case you haven't heard, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the two biggest names on the free agent market....
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Opposite dugout: Astros come to Camden Yards for playoff tune-up

Opposite dugout: Astros come to Camden Yards for playoff tune-up
Manager: AJ Hinch (4th season) Record: 100-58 Last 10 games: 7-3 Who to watch: 2B Jose Altuve (.318/385/.451, 17 SB), 3B Alex Bregman (51 2B, 31HR, 103 RBIs), 1B Yuli Gurriel (.291/.323/.430), CF George Springer (62 BB), RHP Justin Verlander (2.60 ERA), RHP Roberto Osuna (20 saves) Season series vs. Orioles: 3-0 Pitching probables: Sept. 27: RHP Gerrit Cole (15-5) vs. RHP David Hess (3-10), 7:05 p.m., MASNSept. 28: RHP Justin Verlander (16-9) RHP Yefry Ramírez (1-7), 7:05 p.m., MASNSept. 29:...
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Rasmus gets nice reception in Houston (plus game update)

Rasmus gets nice reception in Houston (plus game update)
HOUSTON - During the 2015 and 2016 seasons, the Houston Astros were becoming a pretty good team. They won 86 games in 2015, won the AL wild card game and advanced to the AL Division Series. They won 84 the next year but missed the playoffs. A key member of the Houston outfield those two seasons was Colby Rasmus, who is starting as the DH for the Orioles tonight. When the Orioles were introduced yesterday, Rasmus got a nice welcome back reception from the fans at Minute Maid Park. "I really...
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Opposite dugout: Young Astros stars shooting for repeat of dream season

Opposite dugout: Young Astros stars shooting for repeat of dream season
Manager: AL. Hinch (4th season) Record: 3-1 Who to watch (2017 stats): 2B Jose Altuve (.346, 32 steals), CF George Springer (34 homers), SS Carlos Correa (84 RBIs), 3B Alex Bregman (39 doubles), RHP Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.38 ERA), RHP Ken Giles (34 saves, 2.30 ERA) Season series vs. Orioles: First meeting (5-1 in 2017) Pitching probables: April 2: RHP Chris Tillman (1-7, 7.84 ERA in 2017) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA in 2017), 7:10 p.m., MASNApril 3: RHP Mike Wright Jr. (0-0, 5.76...
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Defending World Series champion Astros remain favorites in AL West

Defending World Series champion Astros remain favorites in AL West
Who says rebuilding lasts forever? It only seems to be the case. The Astros, who had 100-loss seasons each year from 2011 to 2013, won their first World Series last season. This season, they are the favorite to win the American League West. And they could be the first team since the 1999-2000 New York Yankees to win consecutive World Series. In the rest of the AL West, the stories are the same. The Mariners, Angels, Athletics and Rangers have potent lineups, but rotation questions. The...
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Be ready early: Orioles' April schedule is brutal

Be ready early: Orioles' April schedule is brutal
When the 2018 season begins, the Orioles will be afforded no time to ease into the action. The early season schedule is tough and littered with 2017 playoff teams. Of the 15 American League teams, just five finished over .500 last year and they were all playoff teams. Cleveland won 102 games, Houston won 101 on its way to the World Series title, Boston won 93, New York won 91 and Minnesota 85. Of their first seven series of the 2018 season, the Orioles play each of those five teams once. They...
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A radical realignment plan for MLB (plus Game 7 tonight)

A radical realignment plan for MLB (plus Game 7 tonight)
Major League Baseball could be headed for an expansion to 32 teams while at the same time a reduction in games from 162 to 156. That is the potential plan being considered as written about recently in this column in Baseball America. Author Tracy Ringolsby suggests we could see Montreal and Portland, Ore., recieve expansion teams. That would lead to one league with four divisions of eight teams each. It would be a radical change for the Orioles, who would no longer be in a division with the...
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In major leagues, you need both dollars and sense to win

In major leagues, you need both dollars and sense to win
Each year in October, it is interesting to see if the clubs that advanced to the playoffs are the teams spending the most money on players. As is often the case and again this year, the answer is no. There is no question that having a big payroll is an advantage. How can having the ability to outspend your competitors not be? But having a big payroll is just not a requirement to having a winning ballclub. According to Spotrac and using team cash payroll spending, the World Series will be won...
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Back in Fall Classic, Astros are one of eight teams to never win World Series

Back in Fall Classic, Astros are one of eight teams to never win World Series
The Astros are back in the World Series for the first time since 2005, the year they were swept by the White Sox. The Astros are one of eight teams never to win a World Series, a list that has the Nationals, Mariners, Brewers, Padres, Rangers, Rays and Rockies. The Nationals and Mariners are the only teams that haven't appeared in a World Series. The Astros' championship drought covers 55 years, currently the third-longest. The Astros started as the Colt .45s in 1962 and had that nickname...
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Take a look back at MASN's Dan Kolko and Orbit's battle in Houston

Take a look back at MASN's Dan Kolko and Orbit's battle in Houston
A few years ago, Houston Astros mascot Orbit began a friendly squabble with MASN's Dan Kolko. Orbit is known around the league for getting into comical situations with fans, players and teams. He has done everything from tiger hunting to holding interventions to having his own hot dog eating contest to escaping police custody! The past few times that the Nationals and the Astros have met in Houston, there have been plenty of hilarious altercations in games (and on social media) between Orbit...
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Strasburg "not worried" about calf cramp after six scoreless innings

Strasburg "not worried" about calf cramp after six scoreless innings
HOUSTON - Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg managed to throw six scoreless innings against the top-scoring club in the major leagues Thursday night, despite having to deal with a cramp in his left calf as the game wore on. Strasburg began the sixth inning by striking out Derek Fisher and George Springer. He allowed a double to Alex Bregman, but then got Jose Altuve on a screaming liner that was caught by Howie Kendrick in left field to end the inning. Strasburg surrendered only three...
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Texas-sized pitchers' duel (Nats win 5-4 in 11th)

Texas-sized pitchers' duel (Nats win 5-4 in 11th)
HOUSTON - As one might expect, two of the best pitchers in all of baseball are locked in a pitchers' duel through three innings. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg has not allowed a hit through three innings. He has struck out four Astros. But Carlos Beltrán used up 12 Strasburg pitches when he grounded out to shortstop to begin the bottom of the third. Brian McCann was then walked. Strasburg bounced back to strike out Derek Fisher and get George Springer to pop up to first base. Houston still...
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Baker to monitor starters' schedules as final month approaches

Baker to monitor starters' schedules as final month approaches
HOUSTON - Manager Dusty Baker is monitoring how many games his starters will play in the next four weeks as the club closes in on its second straight division title. Nationals starting pitchers have thrown 115 or more pitches in a game 11 times this season. That mark is the most among major league teams, with Boston having reached that plateau 10 times this season. Red Sox and former Nats starter Doug Fister threw 114-pitch one-hitter complete game in Tuesday night's 9-1 victory over the...
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Scherzer improving, Cole will start Friday

Scherzer improving, Cole will start Friday
HOUSTON - Manager Dusty Baker said right-hander A.J. Cole will start Friday for the Nationals in their series opener against the Mets. The Mets series is four games in three days. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will start Saturday's game. Right-hander Tanner Roark is slated to start one of the two games Sunday. Right-hander Max Scherzer could be the starter for Sunday night if he throws a bullpen session without issues Friday in D.C. "Bullpen soon. It's not all gone," Scherzer said of the neck...
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Game 125 lineups: Nats at Astros

Game 125 lineups: Nats at Astros
HOUSTON - A pair of evenly matched first-place clubs attempting to get healthy before the end of the regular season clash in the rubber match of a three-game set tonight at Minute Maid Park. The pitching matchup is outstanding with Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg (10-4, 3.24 ERA) facing off against Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel (11-2, 2.58 ERA). Keuchel is very good at home: 35-19 with a 2.89 ERA and 405 strikeouts in 77 games. He is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two career starts against...
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Jackson pitches well, but Kelley's troubles continue in 6-1 loss

Jackson pitches well, but Kelley's troubles continue in 6-1 loss
HOUSTON - Edwin Jackson did his job, and the Nationals still had a shot. They were down 2-1 heading to the bottom of the eighth Wednesday night. But the Astros went after the Nats bullpen and tallied four runs in the frame, highlighted by a three-run homer off the bat of Alex Bregman as Houston evened the series with a 6-1 win. Right-hander Shawn Kelley gave up the Bregman shot, his 11th homer allowed in 25 games this season. Manager Dusty Baker explained what he saw from Kelley in the at-bat...
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Difo's defense and bat early highlights (Astros win 6-1)

Difo's defense and bat early highlights (Astros win 6-1)
HOUSTON - The Nationals got on the board first in the third inning against Astros starter Mike Fiers. With one out, Andrew Stevenson doubled to right-center field. The hit came a half inning after he was unable to come up with a hot shot to right field that turned into a Marwin Gonzalez double. But starter Edwin Jackson didn't allow the Astros to score thanks to a lineout to left field by Carlos Beltrán that ended the threat. Back to the third-inning Nats rally: Howie Kendrick followed with...
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