O's co-hitting coach Ryan Fuller on Colton Cowser's great start to the season

Colton Cowser

Has there been a hitter with stats so radically different from one year to the next than Orioles outfielder Colton Cowser?

Maybe there has been, but when your OPS gains over 1.000 points, from .433 last year to 1.444 this year after Sunday’s game, that is a big leap up. And yes, the sample size is small in both seasons – he had 77 plate appearances last year and has 38 this season.

“Very proud of him, very happy with his adjustments. He took what we said into the offseason, worked with his coach back in Texas. Made great adjustments, not just the physical adjustments, but the mental adjustments too. Really confident at the plate and goes in with a great plan of attack,” O’s co-hitting coach Ryan Fuller said before Sunday’s game.

Cowser hit a solo homer in the last of the eighth yesterday to provide a big insurance run as the Orioles beat Milwaukee 6-4. He is the first Oriole with four homers in four games since Ryan Mountcastle from April 10-13, 2023. He is the first Oriole rookie to do that since Mountcastle from June 16-19, 2021.

Through Saturday's games, Cowser’s K rate had dropped year-over-year from 28.6 to 23.5 and his average exit velocity increased from 87.4 to 92.7 mph. His hard-hit rate, which was 42.5 last year is now 58.3.

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O's game blog: O's have allowed 22 runs in this series

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Orioles pitchers have been roughed up by Milwaukee batters in the first two games of this weekend series as the Brewers have beaten the Orioles by 11-1 and 11-5 scores.

The Orioles (8-6) entered this series with a team ERA of 2.86. In the last two days it has increased to 3.87.

O’s starters Tyler Wells and Dean Kremer have allowed 16 hits and 12 runs in eight innings in the series. O’s pitchers have allowed five homers against Milwaukee.

As they try to avoid being swept today, the Orioles send their ace and former Brewer right-hander Corbin Burnes (2-0, 1.93 ERA) to the mound. The Orioles are 3-0 in his starts this season and 5-6 in all other games.

Through his first three games, Burnes has thrown 18 2/3 innings, allowing 12 hits and four runs with just two walks to 20 strikeouts. His WHIP is 0.750 and he has given up a batting average against of .176 and OPS of .494 to opponent batters.

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O's need a win today to avoid sweep against Milwaukee (plus more from Elias)

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Well, the Milwaukee Brewers are really swinging it right now. They were playing well before they got to Baltimore and have put up 22 runs over the first two games of this series.

Milwaukee has not lost a series this year and can sweep this one today after wins by 11-1 and 11-5 at Oriole Park.

The Brewers are now 10-3 after going 92-70 last year. They have been in the playoffs five times in the last six seasons, winning division championships in 2018, 2021 and 2023.

They have now scored seven runs or more in six consecutive games, tying a club mark first set in 1982 and matched in 1989. They have scored 58 runs in those six games and are now 7-1 on the road.

Heading into this series, O's pitchers had allowed as many as five runs in one game just twice this year. In this series their team ERA increased from 2.86 to 3.87.

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O’s Mike Elias on Holliday’s early struggles, Hays, Means and more

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Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias seems unconcerned that top prospect Jackson Holliday is still looking for his first big league hit after his first three games.

Baseball’s No. 1 ranked prospect is 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts after going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Friday night. Holliday did not start today against Brewers' lefty and former Oriole DL Hall.

Milwaukee won this afternoon 11-5 and the Orioles (8-6) need a win Sunday to avoid being swept. 

Elias, in an interview with reporters today in the Orioles dugout before the game, said Holliday’s first couple of series in Triple-A this year were “reassuring is the word I would use, those of us that were leaning toward adding him Opening Day with the thought he was ready.”

He was not on the Opening Day roster, but Holliday, 20, is here now and searching for hit No. 1.

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Orioles allow 11 runs again in latest loss to Brewers (plus notes)

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It’s nothing personal.

DL Hall was a popular teammate inside the Orioles clubhouse. His friends hated to see him traded, though the return softened the blow. But he came back to Baltimore wearing a different uniform and with the intent to beat them.

Ryan Mountcastle and Jordan Westburg hit home runs in the first inning. The pleasantries were over.

Gunnar Henderson delivered an RBI single in the second at 112.8 mph off the bat and Adley Rutschman homered in the third to break a tie. Hall was taking a beating. But the Brewers can dole out their own punishment, and they went hard after Dean Kremer and the bullpen.

Nothing personal.

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Ramírez activated and Heasley optioned (plus lineup)

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The Orioles have activated reliever Yohan Ramírez, acquired from the Mets this week for cash considerations, and optioned Jonathan Heasley to Triple-A Norfolk. These moves were anticipated last night.

Heasley allowed six runs in two innings in an 11-1 loss. Manager Brandon Hyde said during his afternoon media session that Ramírez would be arriving within the next few days.

He’s here.

Ramírez, who is wearing No. 48, has made five career relief appearances against Milwaukee and allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Also, infielder Tony Kemp cleared waivers and elected free agency rather than an outright assignment to Norfolk.

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Colton Cowser's bat stays hot and Joey Ortiz on his return to Baltimore

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Different venue, same hot bat for Orioles outfielder Colton Cowser. On a night when the Orioles lost 11-1 to the Brewers, the rookie with the sweet lefty swing produced more offense for the Orioles.

Cowser is taking a one-day-at-a-time approach to put up big numbers so far this year.

“Looking forward to every day, having a fresh start, whether the night before was good or bad,” he said before the series opener.

Then he smoked a double at 103.5 mph in the first inning and hit a solo homer off winning pitcher Freddy Peralta that was 105.1 off the bat in the third.

Over the last four games, Cowser is 8-for-16 with seven extra-base hits (four doubles and three homers) and 11 RBIs. He has driven in a run in four consecutive games.

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Prospects down below remain on hold while Hyde figures out nightly lineups

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The question inevitably comes in casual conversations or radio and television interviews.  And the phrase “pleasant problem” is the chaser.

The constant change in Orioles lineups, with players rotating in the field as if waiting for the music to stop and plopping down, is becoming a less familiar sight. We haven’t gone back to the ‘70s. They want wide margins of victory over wide lapels. But manager Brandon Hyde isn’t gonna fix what ain’t broken and he’s found an order that’s difficult to break up.

An infielder stocked with versatile players is beginning to solidify with Gunnar Henderson at shortstop, Jackson Holliday at second base and Jordan Westburg at third. The first base options remain Ryan Mountcastle or Ryan O’Hearn, the latter serving as designated hitter in the past three games before last night and six overall.

They’ve only played 13.

Jorge Mateo might be in the tightest bind because he isn’t used at third base. It’s pretty much middle infield, which is tougher to crack than a bank safe, or maybe a token appearance in center.

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O's game blog: A new homestand begins as the O's host Milwaukee

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After a three-game series sweep at Boston, the Orioles (8-4) begin a two-team, six-game homestand tonight versus the Milwaukee Brewers (8-3).

The Orioles begin play tonight 1.5 games behind New York for the AL East lead. Milwaukee and Pittsburgh are tied for first atop the NL Central, but the Brewers lead by percentage points.

Milwaukee was rained out Thursday at Cincinnati. They began the year going 3-0 at the New York Mets and have gone 1-1 versus Minnesota, and 2-1 each versus Seattle and Cincinnati.

Milwaukee has made the playoffs five times the last six years and went 92-70 last year. They won NL Central titles in 2018, 2021 and 2023. The Brewers have won three of their last four games and are 5-1 in road games.

Former Brewer right-hander Corbin Burnes, traded to the Orioles on Feb. 1 for DL Hall, Joey Ortiz and a draft pick, will pitch Sunday against his former team. Hall and Ortiz return this weekend with the Brewers. Hall is 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA in two starts and is scheduled to pitch tomorrow. In 10 games, Ortiz is 6-for-20 with a double, one RBI and a .767 OPS. He hit .212 (7-for-33) last year in 15 games with the Orioles.

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Jackson Holliday talks about playing his first home game tonight

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Jackson Holliday has been at Camden Yards before, but not as a player in the starting lineup. Tonight the 20-year-old No. 1 ranked prospect in baseball will play his third MLB game and first in front of the hometown Baltimore fans.

“It’s a pretty awesome place to be able to play,” he said this afternoon to a crowd of reporters, adding that he remembered being here before.

“I think it was when my dad (Matt) was with the Cardinals. Me and my brother came out here and shagged (BP fly balls). I remember thinking this is a really great place to hit.

"I remember being able to almost rob a home run because the wall was shorter before they moved it back and raised it about 100 feet. I do remember it and it’s very special be here,” the kid said showing he retains a sense of humor amid a flurry of interviews he has been doing.

“To be able to come to the ballpark and have a locker here, it’s definitely a little bit different. When I was with Aberdeen and Bowie, I came down to eat every now and then. But it’s definitely a different experience knowing this is home for now.”

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DL Hall on his return: “Definitely a weird feeling but awesome"

DL Hall on his return: “Definitely a weird feeling but awesome"

DL Hall went through the usual, almost clichéd, struggle this afternoon to find the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards.

The strangeness never goes away for players changing teams and routines. The sense of direction is lost. Amusement follows in the retelling.

“Definitely a little weird for sure,” he said after greeting members of the Baltimore media with a smile and handshake. “I was walking in today, didn’t even know where to go. I was like, ‘I’ve been here but I don’t know how to get to the visiting side.’

“Definitely a weird feeling but awesome. Super excited, obviously.”

The Orioles made their big winter strike by trading Hall and elite-fielding shortstop Joey Ortiz to the Brewers on Feb. 1 for former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, a three-time All-Star and the bona fide ace that the front office hunted.

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O's used late-inning lightning to sweep the Red Sox

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The Boston Red Sox began this series with the Orioles riding high at 7-3 after a season-opening West Coast road trip. Their team ERA was 1.49 at first pitch Tuesday night, the club’s lowest mark through 10 games since the Live Ball era which began in 1920.

But in this series, in which the Orioles swept them three in a row, Baltimore produced 23 runs on 31 hits, hit five homers – four last night – and went 15-for-37 (.405) batting with runners in scoring position.

Last night was their sixth comeback win of the 2024 season and they outscored Boston in the series 19-2 from the sixth inning on.

The Orioles have put up big numbers later in games this year. In fact, through the fifth innings of their games so far, they have been outscored 28-23. But from the sixth inning on, they have outscored their opponents 47-14. So they are -5 in runs in the first five innings and +33 from the sixth inning on.

That is a remarkable stat.

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Orioles acquire right-hander Ramírez from Mets

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The Orioles today announced that they have acquired right-handed pitcher YOHAN RAMÍREZ from the New York Mets in exchange for cash considerations. He has not yet reported.

Ramírez, 28, was 0-1 with an 11.81 ERA (7 ER/5.1 IP) with nine hits (1 HR), four walks (1 IBB), and six strikeouts in three games with the Mets this season. He’s appeared in 105 career MLB games between the Mariners, Guardians, Pirates, White Sox, and Mets, including making a career-high 31 appearances in 2023 between Pittsburgh and Chicago-AL.

Ramírez was originally signed as an International Free Agent by the Houston Astros on June 15, 2016 out of Villa Mella, Dominican Republic. Seattle selected him in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft, and he made his MLB debut in 2020.

The Orioles’ 40-man roster currently has 40 players.

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O's game blog: O's look to end road trip with a series sweep

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After taking the first two games at Fenway Park by scores of 7-1 and a comeback win by 7-5 last night, the Orioles can sweep this series with a win tonight over the Boston Red Sox.

It's a matchup of the second- and third-place teams in the American League East. The Orioles (7-4) are in second, two games behind the New York Yankees (10-3), while Boston (7-5) is in third place, 2 1/2 games behind the division leaders.

The Orioles are the first team this year to take a series from Boston, which went 2-0-1 in three series on the West Coast to start the year. The Red Sox were 6-1 their previous seven games heading into this series.

The Orioles have not lost a series against an AL East opponent since losing two of three to the Yankees April 7-9, 2023. Baltimore has not dropped a series in the division in 15 straight sets, improving to 11-0-4 during that time. That is the longest such run in team history, per the Elias Sports Bureau.

Five of the Orioles' seven wins this season have been in comeback fashion. Last night they trailed 5-0 after five innings. Baltimore's 53 comeback wins since the start of last season are the most in the major leagues. Their 89 come-from-behind victories since the start of 2022 are second-most, behind the Dodgers (90).

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Orioles claim Livan Soto

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The Orioles have made the following roster move:

  • Claimed INF Livan Soto off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk.

The Orioles’ 40-man roster currently has 39 players.

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A resilient victory, as O's come from five runs down to win at Boston

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During my postgame show on WBAL Radio last night, a caller said the Orioles win showed they are resilient and can overcome adversity. Well, they indeed did do that in a 7-5 win over the Boston Red Sox.

They are now 7-4 overall, 3-2 on this road trip and won another series, and can sweep it tonight behind Grayson Rodriguez (2-0, 2.19 ERA) at Fenway Park.

Jordan Westburg has hit two homers this year - one was a walk-off at Camden Yards and last night it was a go-ahead homer in the top of the seventh. With his club down 5-4 and two men on, he blasted a two-out shot out to the left of center. It was a ball he hit 111.2 mph and drove it 432 feet. It turned a one-run deficit into a 7-5 lead which the Orioles would hold.

Westburg said he was just trying to keep the line moving when he got into one. 

“I just viewed all those situations as ways of our guys passing the bat back to the next guy, trying to string together innings, string together some runs, get back in the game,” he said. “It got up to me and I was kind of doing the same thing. I wasn’t trying to do too much. I was just trying to get the bat to the next guy in the lineup. And it just so happened that it went out."

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Teammates trust that Holliday can handle pressure

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BOSTON – The reporter approached Ryan Mountcastle’s locker yesterday, asked if he had a minute and explained that only one topic could be covered. The important one. You know it.

Mountcastle turned around, smiled and said, “Jackson Holliday.”

Of course. It wasn’t the best lobster rolls in New England.

Players learned about Holliday’s promotion late Tuesday night. They, too, have sources scattered throughout baseball.

“Somebody sent it to me over a text,” Mountcastle said. “Super excited for him and super excited for the team and fans to have him up. Hopefully, he does well. Super excited to have him here.”

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Holliday gets first RBI, Westburg hits go-ahead home run in 7-5 win (updated)

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BOSTON – Jackson Holliday stretched with his teammates on the field. He took batting practice while father Matt and younger brother Ethan stood behind the cage. He paused to sign some autographs before grabbing his bats and heading back to the clubhouse. Fans yelled his name.

He looked every bit like a major leaguer, except for that youthful face, of course. But he’s used to the reactions and enjoys them. It comes with a boyish grin.

Holliday worked this afternoon to keep his emotions in check. Soak in the experience but don’t let it distract. Understand the fuss but also blend, as he’s always tried to do.

Jackson’s first major league at-bat arrived with one out in the third inning and he struck out on a 2-2 sweeper from Red Sox starter Kutter Crawford while Colton Cowser stole second base. Baseball’s top prospect went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and his first RBI in the Orioles' 7-5 come-from-behind win at Fenway Park.

Jordan Westburg hit a three-run homer in the seventh off Chris Martin after the Orioles loaded the bases for the third time. The Red Sox maintained their sloppy ways with a walk, passed ball, catcher’s interference call and two wild pitches to set up Westburg for his second home run – a 432-foot shot to left-center at 111.2 mph off the bat.

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Hyde on Holliday: "Hopefully he can just relax and play confidently and have fun out there"

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BOSTON – Manager Brandon Hyde prepared for tonight's game against the Red Sox but also relived the “tough decision” made in spring training to reassign 20-year-old Jackson Holliday. Again.

How Holliday was playing a new position, how the first-overall draft pick in 2022 needed more exposure to left-handed pitching.

“Just to get him more Triple-A experience, and he did,” Hyde said this afternoon, before Holliday did some stretching with teammates and took his first major league batting practice.

“He got 10 or so games in there defensively, played really well, took really good at-bats. We watched all of them. And we just felt like at this point, at this time, he was ready to come up.”

Holliday was told last night and flew out of Richmond with wife Chloe. The Orioles made it through the early gauntlet of opposing left-handed starters, facing right-handers in all three games of the Red Sox series. They'll see at least one this weekend against the Brewers at Camden Yards, after former Orioles left-hander DL Hall on Friday night.

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O's game blog: Jackson Holliday makes major league debut as O's play Red Sox

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It's the Orioles' 11th game of the 2024 season, but for 20-year-old Jackson Holliday, it's his big league debut. Less than two years since the O's selected him No. 1 overall in July 2022, Holliday is in the majors.

He will bat ninth and play second base tonight in Game 2 of this three-game series at Boston.

In 10 Triple-A games for Norfolk, Holliday, baseball's No. 1 ranked prospect, hit .333/.482/.595/1.077 with five doubles, two homers, nine RBIs, 18 runs, 12 walks and eight strikeouts. He went 4-for-10 versus lefty pitching with two doubles and a homer for an OPS of 1.264.

While tonight he will bat ninth, he could eventually move into the leadoff spot for the Orioles. He batted leadoff for the Tides. When the lineup turns over tonight, Holliday, Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman will bat back-to-back-to-back.

Holliday will wear No. 7, not worn by any Oriole since the passing of Cal Ripken Sr. Bill Ripken and Mark Belander also wore No. 7. On MLB Network today, Bill Ripken said the Holliday family asked "very respectfully" if the Ripken family would be fine with Jackson wearing No. 7, as their dad once did and Holliday's dad, Matt, did in the majors. Ripken said they loved the idea.

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