Hyde on Mullins: "He's pressing big-time"

GettyImages-2151952738

Cedric Mullins is available off the bench this afternoon. However, manager Brandon Hyde wants to give his center fielder a breather.

Mullins went 0-for-4 last night with a run-scoring grounder and is batting .193 with a .616 OPS in 36 games. He was lowered to ninth Wednesday in D.C., hit eighth last night and is out of today’s lineup despite the Diamondbacks starting right-hander Ryne Nelson.

A 2-for-4 day in Kansas City on April 21 was followed by a 5-for-52 stretch with one home run and three RBIs. He’s struck out nine times in his last five games and slammed his bat in frustration after a recent at-bat.

“He’s pressing big-time,” Hyde said, “so I just want to give him an evening to relax a little bit.”

Colton Cowser is in center field today and Heston Kjerstad is in left. The Diamondbacks are starting another right-hander, Zac Gallen, in Sunday’s series finale.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Cowser and Kjerstad in today's Orioles lineup

GettyImages-1681760508

Colton Cowser is starting in center field this afternoon as the Orioles try to secure a series win against the Diamondbacks.

Heston Kjerstad gets the start in left field. Cedric Mullins goes to the bench against an opposing right-hander.

Jorge Mateo remains at second base. Ryan O’Hearn is the designated hitter.

Gunnar Henderson collected his 40th career double last night, making him the fifth player in Orioles history with 40 doubles and 40 home runs before turning 23. He joins Boog Powell, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr. and Manny Machado. Henderson is the only Oriole to also have 10 triples.

Jordan Westburg has 24 RBIs, one more than his rookie total last season.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Kicking around ideas for Kimbrel and the Orioles' closer's job

kimbrel city

Rarely do a reliever’s first warmup tosses in the bullpen create such a stir.

Craig Kimbrel wasn’t getting ready last night for the ninth inning. He was prepping for the seventh in a one-run game. Cue the gasps.

The Orioles went with the reset over their other options, and Kimbrel retired the Diamondbacks in order to preserve a 3-2 lead. One ball was scalded to first baseman Ryan Mountcastle. Another ball drove right fielder Anthony Santander to the edge of the warning track. But they were outs. Do not quibble.

Kimbrel is working on his mechanics. He isn’t dealing with upper-back tightness or anything else physical. And he’s still the guy who expects the ball in a save situation if he’s available. He said so earlier in the day at his locker.

The Orioles seemed to be on the same wavelength judging by manager Brandon Hyde’s comments after Wednesday night’s thriller in D.C. They didn’t appear ready to demote Kimbrel or do anything drastic.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Orioles use Kimbrel in seventh inning, Cano closes out 4-2 win over Diamondbacks (updated)

kimbrel pitching black

Craig Kimbrel stood up tonight, removed his jacket and began to throw in the Orioles’ bullpen.

It was the bottom of the sixth inning.

Kimbrel said earlier in the day that he expected to get the ball again in a save situation, but he jogged onto the field for the top of the seventh with the Orioles ahead 3-2. The lights flickered as if he were closing. The entrance didn’t change.

Just the timing of it.

Kimbrel retired the Diamondbacks in order on a 101.4 mph line drive to Ryan Mountcastle, a strikeout at 94.4 mph and a fly ball near the warning track in right field. Twelve pitches, eight for strikes, and Kimbrel was done.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Kimbrel: "Let's make it simple, I've got to be better" (plus other notes before tonight's game)

Kimbrel on mound black

Craig Kimbrel is working on some mechanical adjustments with Orioles coaches and instructors in an attempt to snap out of the funk that’s forced his removal in four of his last five appearances.

He isn’t working on an alibi.

Kimbrel won’t make excuses for the blown saves and runs allowed that have increased his ERA from 0.82 on April 24 to 4.73 and created some shuffling in the back end of the bullpen.

“Let’s make it simple, I’ve got to be better,” he said this afternoon. “I think four of my last five outings have been pretty bad and I’ve just got to be better than that. Whatever they are – walking guys, throwing pitches where I shouldn’t, giving guys opportunities, not capitalizing on opportunities in at-bats and things like that.

“It can be laying in the breaking ball more, being less predictable, you name it. Whatever it is. I need to figure it out and be better, and I fully expect to. I don’t go out there thinking I’m going to give up any runs. I go out there expecting I’m going to do my job each and every time. Unfortunately, the last couple times that hasn’t been the case, but I plan on turning it around and getting on a good roll just like I always do.”

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Orioles and Diamondbacks lineups for series opener at Camden Yards

GettyImages-2151421836

Last year’s National League champions come to Baltimore for a weekend series, with the Diamondbacks bringing along Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll.

Carroll can pose for photos again with American League Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson.

Henderson totaled his 125th career RBI Wednesday at 22 years and 314 days old, becoming the fifth-youngest player to reach that mark with the Orioles, per STATS. Cal Ripken Jr. is fourth at 22 years and 291 days.

Jorge Mateo is the second baseman again tonight, with Jordan Westburg at third.

Colton Cowser is in left field and Anthony Santander is in right. Ryan O’Hearn is the designated hitter.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Leftovers for breakfast

Albert Suarez

Albert Suárez made a run at a rotation spot in spring training, faltered late and was reassigned to minor league camp. He was an unexpected addition to the roster on April 17 after the Orioles placed Tyler Wells on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation. And he keeps finding ways to contribute.

Maybe to complicate, too.

Two starts produced a combined 11 1/3 scoreless innings, because the man is full of surprises. The Orioles ran out of room in the rotation and moved him to the bullpen, where he retired all seven Cincinnati batters he faced Sunday afternoon.

“He made it look pretty easy,” said manager Brandon Hyde.

Nothing was simple about Suárez’s assignment Wednesday night in D.C. The 10th inning, automatic runner on second base, game on the line. Luis García Jr. didn’t budge because Suárez induced a grounder and fly ball and struck out Joey Meneses on a 96 mph four-seamer to keep the score tied.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

More questions confronting Orioles

Grayson Rodriguez

The latest off-day for the Orioles is upon them. They’ll take it, of course, but they’d like to trade in a few for later in the summer.

Work it into the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. Trade you two Aprils for an August and September.

On a more realistic note, a few more big decisions are on the horizon. I feel like I’ve typed these words many times since spring training.

It’s true again.

* The Orioles set their rotation for the weekend Diamondbacks series at Camden Yards with Cole Irvin, John Means and Dean Kremer on the bump. Meanwhile, Grayson Rodriguez advanced this week from playing catch to throwing a bullpen session yesterday, his first since going on the injured list April 30 with right shoulder inflammation.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Orioles squander two-run leads in ninth and 11th before winning 7-6 in 12th (updated)

Ryan Mountcastle Gunnar Henderson

WASHINGTON – Kyle Bradish backed up home plate in the second inning and glanced at his glove, as if checking whether a hole had gone undetected.

That isn't where the leak would spring later in the night.

Trey Lipscomb’s one-hopper made it past Bradish, who reached across his body and rested the glove on his right shoulder as the ball bounced into center field for a run-scoring single.

The Orioles were behind again in D.C. Bradish finished the inning at 44 pitches, stranding two runners by fielding Jacob Young’s high chopper and striking out CJ Abrams. But he’d need to become more economical to get deep in his second start since his reinstatement from the injured list, and the Orioles would need a rally to avoid their first series sweep in the regular season since May 2022.

Anthony Santander hit a game-tying home run in the fourth inning and Gunnar Henderson provided a lead leading off the sixth. Bradish struck out nine batters in five frames and became the pitcher of record. It was setting up ideally until closing again became a major issue.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Orioles pregame notes on Rodriguez, Wells, Hays, rotation and more

Grayson Rodriguez

WASHINGTON – Grayson Rodriguez has advanced his throwing program to today’s bullpen session at Nationals Park.

Rodriguez, on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation, was playing catch before the Orioles cleared him to throw off a mound. He totaled about 15 pitches and spun a few rather than going strictly with his fastball.

“It was good. Everything felt good,” he said.

“Very encouraging. Obviously anytime you go on the IL, not good. But to be feeling good like I am, I guess pretty positive.”

The Orioles haven’t laid out the rest of the plan, but Rodriguez is getting back on the mound. He’ll face live hitters soon and a decision will be made whether he needs a brief rehab assignment.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Orioles lineup for series finale in D.C., Hays homers again

Kyle Bradish

WASHINGTON – Kyle Bradish makes his second start tonight since his reinstatement from the injured list, and the Orioles are attempting to avoid being swept in a regular season series for the first time since May 2022.

The streak of 102 series is on the line.

Bradish allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings Thursday against the Yankees in his 2024 debut. He’s started twice against the Nationals and racked up 14 scoreless innings.

Keibert Ruiz is 3-for-5 against Bradish.

Cedric Mullins moves down to ninth in the lineup tonight against the latest opposing left-handed starter. Adley Rutschman is the designated hitter while James McCann catches.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

This, that and the other

Anthony Santander

WASHINGTON - Dean Kremer was following the rotation’s lead of hanging up zeros, being extra stingy Sunday afternoon with only one hit allowed, and the bats broke out to remove any potential drama. A sweep in Cincinnati was a certainty, with only the final score pending.

Anthony Santander provided the game’s first run with his RBI single in the first inning, but he had one more damaging swing in him. It didn’t influence the outcome, but he needed it.

Facing right-hander Emilio Pagán in the ninth, Santander laid into a four-seam fastball and drove it 402 feet to right-center field for his third career grand slam.

Santander had five hits since April 21 before going 3-for-4 to raise his average from .200 to .218 and his OPS from .668 to .722. He was slashing .179/.225/.381 against right-handers before last night, increasing the important of the blow against Pagán.

The only other five-RBI game in Santander’s career was May 5, 2023, against the Braves and he also hit a grand slam.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Orioles offense can't back Burnes in 3-0 loss to Nationals (updated)

GettyImages-2151959298

WASHINGTON – Orioles starting pitchers were bound to do more than just a little bending. Even the tiniest cracks had to form.

The rotation had gone 22 consecutive innings without allowing a run until Joey Meneses’ hit-and-run single tonight in the second that plated Jesse Winker.

Corbin Burnes didn’t surrender another hit or run until the seventh. Light damage that weighed heavier with no offensive support.

The Nationals scored twice in the inning to provide insurance that wasn’t necessary in a 3-0 win over the Orioles before an announced crowd of 29,542.

The Orioles had allowed two runs or fewer in seven straight games, their longest streak since August 1980. But Meneses led off the seventh with a double and scored with one out on Eddie Rosario’s single, and another Nationals stolen base set up Trey Lipscomb’s RBI single and Burnes’ removal at 95 pitches.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Orioles injury updates on Rodriguez and Hays

hays

WASHINGTON – Grayson Rodriguez is playing catch and reporting no discomfort in the right shoulder that forced him onto the injured list with inflammation on April 30.

“Feeling good,” he said today. “Just wanted to take some time off. Obviously had some shoulder inflammation. So really just missing a start or two and then right back at it.

“Just a little bit of soreness. We wanted to be a little bit on the cautionary side, just make sure it didn’t turn into anything more than what it is.”

Rodriguez is doing some light tossing on flat ground. He doesn’t know whether he’ll require a rehab assignment but is optimistic that he can avoid it, saying, “Personally, I don’t think so, but that’s not for me to decide.”

“Hopefully be ready whenever the 15 days is up,” he said.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Orioles lineup for series opener in D.C.

GettyImages-2151499704

WASHINGTON – Ramón Urías gets the start tonight at third base with Jordan Westburg at second to begin a two-game series against the Nationals in D.C.

Ryan O’Hearn is the designated hitter. Colton Cowser is in left field, with Heston Kjerstad on the bench.

Cedric Mullins is batting eighth.

Corbin Burnes suffered his first loss with the Orioles in his last start after allowing two runs in six innings against the Yankees. He has a 2.61 ERA and 0.919 WHIP in seven games.

Burnes has made five career appearances against the Nats but only two starts, and he’s allowed six runs and 11 hits in 14 2/3 innings. He started in D.C. on July 31, 2023 and surrendered two runs in six innings, and again Sept. 16 in Milwaukee and allowed four runs with nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

More Orioles pitching and other notes

Cole Irvin

The rotation received a roundhouse shot in the arm with the Feb. 1 trade for ace Corbin Burnes. It absorbed a couple of blows with the spring training news that Kyle Bradish, the Orioles’ Game 1 starter in the Division series, and former All-Star John Means would begin the season on the injured list, and then lost Tyler Wells last month to elbow inflammation. The unit grew stronger with the returns of Bradish and Means but also lost Grayson Rodriguez to shoulder inflammation.

The calm keeps clashing with the storms, but the Orioles headed into their off-day with the fifth-lowest team ERA in the majors at 3.31. The starters’ ERA fell to 3.18, sixth in the majors and fourth in the American League. The staff’s 1.08 WHIP ranked fourth in the majors and third in the AL.

The Orioles have allowed two runs or fewer in seven consecutive games, their longest single-season streak since Aug. 1-8, 1980, when they reached eight. The ERA is 1.14 during this stretch.

Starters plowed through the Reds’ order over the weekend, failing to surrender a run in 19 1/3 innings. And they did it without Burnes and Bradish, who are on deck in D.C. and trying to extend the starters' streak of six-plus shutout innings to five and tie the club record from Sept. 2-6, 1974 and Sept. 26-Oct. 1, 1995.

How’s that for pitching depth? Wait for Wells and Rodriguez and keep hanging zeros.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Hays beginning injury rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie

Austin Hays

The Austin Hays workouts are turning into an injury rehab assignment.

The Orioles announced that Hays will begin playing for Double-A Bowie on Tuesday night against the Akron RubberDucks at Prince George’s Stadium. First pitch is 6:35 p.m.

Hays is on the injured list since April 22 with a left calf strain. He was 5-for-45 with no extra-base hits and a .311 OPS in 19 games.

The recent at-bats were producing more solid contact and he collected a hit in each of his last two games. He tweaked the knee running from first to third base against the Royals on April 20 in Kansas City and decided he couldn’t cover the necessary ground in left field, which led to Colton Cowser as a defensive replacement and a trip to the IL.

Hays ramped up baseball activities Thursday at Camden Yards, sprinting between bases and taking batting practice on the field.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Mateo still matters and another look at starters' scoreless streak

Jorge Mateo

In the unpredictable world of baseball, it’s been fascinating to watch Jorge Mateo go from bubble non-tender guy to trade bait to integral part of the Orioles’ lineup planning.

He has a role on a first-place team and owners of the best record in the American League that for quite some time appeared to have little use for him. Another good reminder of the dangers of rushing to conclusions.

Mateo was groomed and advertised as more of a super-utility guy, with club promises to test him more regularly in the outfield at spring training. It didn’t happen that much, and he’s settled in as a second baseman.

Jackson Holliday eventually will become the everyday player at the position, but he was platooned during his brief stay in the majors and currently is leading off again for Triple-A Norfolk. He went 1-for-3 yesterday with a double, two walks, two strikeouts and a run scored and is batting .278 with a .928 OPS.

Mateo entered yesterday’s series finale against the Reds with home runs in two of his last three games. Before Thursday, he hadn’t hit a ball over the fence since April 30, 2023 in Detroit. He delivered an inside-the-park homer on Aug. 20 in Oakland.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Another win, another strong game on mound: Behind Dean Kremer, the O's sweep the Reds (updated)

GettyImages-2151611414

CINCINNATI – Maybe the O’s starters are just trying to match or better the previous pitcher. But whatever the reason, this team, as catcher James McCann observed last night, has used great game plans and execution to go on a tremendous pitching roll.

Today it led them to a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

The O’s had not swept the Reds since the 2014 season, and never on the road before today’s 11-1 win behind Dean Kremer’s strong start, Jordan Westburg’s two-run homer, two RBIs from Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander's grand slam in the ninth to cap it off. 

Friday night here, Cole Irvin threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings. Lefty John Means went seven without allowing a run last night.

Today Kremer pitched six scoreless while allowing just one hit, a clean single to left by Christian Encarnacion-Strand in the fifth. He walked one and fanned six, throwing 93 pitches.

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments

Rodriguez begins a throwing program, plus other pregame notes from Cincy

rodriguez

CINCINNATI – Orioles pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, on the 15-day injured list since May 1 - retroactive to April 30 - with right shoulder inflammation, started a throwing program today off flat ground at Great American Ball Park. He made throws from 60 to 75 feet.

Orioles pitching coach Drew French, in a pregame interview with reporters, said Rodriguez's return is still to be determined.

“We’re going to take it one step at a time. We’re just going to keep stacking days on top of each other. Hopefully give him a couple of bullpens before we release him back," said French.

French isn’t sure yet whether Rodriguez, who is 4-1 with a 3.71 ERA over six starts, will need a rehab assignment.

“Right now we’re just looking at the early stages, like getting him to his first bullpen. That is what kind of today looked like.”

Continue reading
  0 Comments
0 Comments