Henderson serves as DH and Mateo gets start at short in series finale in Cincinnati

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The Orioles are trying for the sweep this afternoon in Cincinnati and Dean Kremer is hoping to keep the pitching staff on its roll.

The team ERA is 1.17 in the last six games and 2.23 in 13. John Means notched the rotation’s seventh scoreless start last night.

The Reds have scored one run in the first two games of the series, and it came against Craig Kimbrel last night in the ninth inning before Yennier Cano recorded the two-out save.

Kremer has registered a 4.19 ERA and 1.078 WHIP in six outings. His eight home runs surrendered are tied for most in the American League.

Kremer tied his season high with seven innings in his last start against the Yankees, with both runs scoring on solo homers. He faced the Reds in 2022 in Cincinnati and allowed six runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings.  

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A few more questions as Orioles finish first half of road trip

Terrin Vavra

The Orioles wrap up their series against the Reds this afternoon, going for the sweep, and I’m unwrapping three more questions that hang in the air. At least where I’m breathing.

The good news is there’s a definite answer to the first one.

What the heck happened to Terrin Vavra?

Vavra posted photos recently on his Instagram account with a caption about “the most trying 10 months of my career” and offering thanks for the support he’s received. The first photo showed Vavra in his hospital bed holding one of his children.

Was this a new surgery on his shoulder that would perhaps ruin his chances of playing in 2024, or was he celebrating the end of his rehab from his original labrum procedure last fall?

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John Means throws seven scoreless in his return as O's hold off the Reds (updated)

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CINCINNATI – It was April 17th in Jacksonville, Florida, and one-time O’s ace John Means was pitching in his fourth injury rehab game with Triple-A Norfolk.

He didn’t get out of the first inning, threw just 34 pitches and gave up five runs and two homers.

But things were very different tonight. Very different.

Means, who had his best rehab game last Sunday with seven scoreless on one hit for the Tides, picked up tonight where he left off there as the Orioles beat Cincinnati 2-1 to take the first two in this series in front of 33,202 at Great American Ball Park.

There was much drama in the ninth as the Reds, down 2-0, got a run off Craig Kimbrel and had bases loaded and one out. But Yennier Cano got the save with a strikeout and flyout to end this thriller and make Means a winning pitcher.

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Hyde pregame on Means' return, the stolen base success and more

Means pitching white

CINCINNATI – O’s lefty John Means is back on a major league mound tonight for the first time since Sept. 29, 2023, versus Boston. After not getting in a game in spring training and making six rehab starts at Triple-A, he faces the Cincinnati Reds in Game 2 of this weekend's series.

“Yeah, excited to watch him,” manager Brandon Hyde said today. “Long road back. The long road back was last year and now with the setback that he had it pushed the season back for him a little bit. But he’s excited to get out there. Hoping everything goes well and he finishes feeling good and healthy. We’re all looking forward to watching him pitch.”

O’s pitching has been on a roll recently with two shutouts in the last five games, allowing six total runs and 30 runs allowed the past 12 games with a team ERA of 2.33.

“With the amount of quality arms we have, especially in the rotation right now, the depth we have is huge. And you know, try to keep those guys healthy as much as possible,” added Hyde.

Hyde also today discussed the club’s stolen base success rate. While tonight’s opponent, Cincinnati, leads MLB with 56 steals, the Reds stolen base percentage of 83.6 percent ranks ninth in the majors. Baltimore, with 26 steals in 29 attempts, leads the majors with an 88.9 success rate.

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Orioles and Reds Saturday night lineups and notes

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John Means makes his 2024 debut tonight as the Orioles continue their series in Cincinnati following last night’s 3-0 win. And after Cole Irvin ran his scoreless streak to 20 2/3 innings.

Means hasn’t pitched for the Orioles since Sept. 29 against the Red Sox, when he allowed two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings. He faced teammates in a simulated game at Camden Yards prior to the Division Series and experienced discomfort in his elbow/forearm area that led to his exclusion from the roster, a delayed off-season throwing program and stint on the injured list.

Tonight marks his latest comeback to the rotation, and he’s with a club that’s 21-11, has won 13 of its last 18 games and is one ahead of the Yankees for first place.

The Reds are a new opponent for Means, who’s posted a career 3.97 ERA in 13 starts against the National League.

Jeimer Candelario is 3-for-8 with a double, triple, RBI and walk against him. Santiago Espinal is 2-for-2 with a double and RBI.

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Everything that happened with the Orioles before they could take the field

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The Orioles were forced to wait last night until the rain finally stopped to begin their three-game series in Cincinnati.

The delay also gave the organization time to catch its breath after the barrage of news and updates that hit the media.

To review:

Gunnar Henderson and Colton Cowser are monthly award winners.

I participated in the voting and won’t reveal my ballot, but Henderson and Royals catcher Salvador Perez had really strong cases as I recall. Yeah, really strong.

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Irvin outstanding again as O's take series opener (Tides toss combined no-hitter too)

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CINCINNATI – The great recent pitching run of O’s lefty Cole Irvin hit the road tonight at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. He baffled the Reds as he had the Royals and Athletics in his two previous starts.

He entered the game with a scoreless streak of 14 1/3 innings and had thrown 13 2/3 scoreless on eight hits in his most recent outings against Kansas City and Oakland.

He was 2-0 with an ERA of 0.98 his last three starts, with the Orioles 3-0 in those games.

A great pitcher’s duel between Irvin and Cincinnati right-hander Hunter Greene was finally broken up in the Baltimore seventh. Adley Rutschman produced an RBI double for the lead and Ryan O’Hearn's home run added to that as the Orioles beat Cincinnati 3-0 in front of 25,861 in the road trip opener.

In a game that started two hours and 41 minutes late due to rain, they won the series opener to stay a game ahead of the Yankees, who also won. The Birds are now 21-11 with wins in four of the last five and nine of their past 13 games.

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O's not expecting any letdowns after NY series win (plus the latest O's Hall of Famers)

Nick-Markakis

CINCINNATI – The Orioles won a much anticipated series with the New York Yankees. They took three of four and they moved into first place.

Could they have a letdown as their latest road trip begins in cloudy Cincinnati tonight?

“Not with this group. I think this group comes to play every day," said manager Brandon Hyde this afternoon. "That being said, this a really good Cincinnati Reds team. They gave us everything we could handle and more last year. They are unbelievably athletic and we’re going to face three outstanding arms on the mound.”

Hyde today said there is no update yet on testing done on right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, who recently went on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation.

“Not yet, no. He’s still just kind of letting everything kind of calm down and we’ll hopefully start him back up here pretty soon,” Hyde said.

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Orioles and Reds lineups and notes

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Heston Kjerstad, who was named the International League’s Player of the Month earlier today, is starting in left field tonight for the series opener against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Colton Cowser is on the bench, whether to rest or to heal from slamming his knee into the outfield wall yesterday and being hit on the foot by a pitch. Either way, he's one of the reserves.

Jorge Mateo gets another start at second base after homering yesterday. Ryan O’Hearn is the designated hitter.

Cole Irvin hasn’t allowed a run in his last 14 1/3 innings. He stays in the rotation despite Kyle Bradish and John Means leaving the injured list.

Irvin has made three career appearances against the Reds, including one start, and allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings.

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Henderson and Cowser receive monthly honors

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The Orioles won three of four games from the Yankees, they lead the division, and they just claimed two monthly awards.

This is a team on a roll.

Shortstop Gunnar Henderson was named the American League’s Player of the Month and outfielder Colton Cowser was chosen Rookie of the Month.

Henderson batted .291 (34-for-117) with three doubles, three triples, 10 home runs, 24 RBIs, eight walks, 25 runs scored, six stolen bases and a .624 slugging percentage in 29 games. He’s tied for the major league lead in homers and ranks first in the AL in slugging and total bases. He’s tied for second in triples, extra-base hits and runs scored.

The 10 homers make Henderson the youngest player in history to reach that total before May 1.

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This, that and the other

Austin Hays

Austin Hays grabbed his spikes yesterday and walked out of the Orioles’ clubhouse. He had another box to check.

Hays ran the bases for the first time since landing on the 10-day injured list on April 22 with a strained left calf muscle. He sprinted from third to home and wasn’t favoring the leg.

That was only part of his workout. The Orioles didn’t schedule batting practice but they arranged for Hays to take some swings on the field.

It was significant ramping of baseball activities after Hays had run the last two days, hit in the indoor cage and threw.

“Everything’s been going good,” he said. “I’ve been up to 90 percent of my game speed, so getting really close. Just got to check a couple more boxes, but everything we’ve done so far, there have been no setbacks, nothing negative. I think we’re getting really close.”

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Bradish returns, Mateo and McKenna homer off Rodón as O's take series (updated)

Kyle Bradish

Orioles right-hander Kyle Bradish fired a 96.3 mph two-seam fastball to Yankees leadoff hitter Anthony Volpe for a called strike. And not only was Game 4 of this series underway, but so was Bradish’s first big league outing since last October’s American League Division Series.

He was activated today off the 15-day injured list after dealing with a right UCL sprain that led to him getting a platelet-rich plasma injection in January. After three minor league rehab games, he was back on a big league mound for the first time since he faced the Rangers in Game 1 of the ALDS at Oriole Park on Oct. 7.

Bradish’s return was no doubt a lift today for the Orioles and he gave them a solid outing. They used that, a couple of home runs from unexpected places and Jordan Westburg’s two-run triple to beat the Yankees 7-2 in front of 27,299 sun-splashed fans and take three of four in this series.

The Orioles began this series down a game in the AL East, but they leave it at 20-11 and leading the Yankees (20-13) by a game.

The O’s offense had scored just six runs on 16 hits the first three games of this series, but they broke out today versus Yankees lefty Carlos Rodón, who entered with a 2.48 ERA.

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Orioles pregame notes on rotation, Suárez, Bradish, Hays and more

albert suarez

The Orioles set their rotation for the series against the Reds in Cincinnati. Albert Suárez isn’t in it.

Cole Irvin starts Friday night and John Means makes his 2024 debut the following night. Dean Kremer gets the ball Sunday afternoon.

Suárez moves to the bullpen. He’s listed today among the relievers after posting a 2.35 ERA in three starts.

“It’s up for grabs right now, so kind of a wait and see,” said manager Brandon Hyde said of Suárez’s role. “I’m interested to see what it looks like in different ways. But he’s also a starter candidate for us if we maybe go with a six-man down the road. All different types of roles. So right now he’s kind of a wild card for us in our bullpen.”

Kyle Bradish is starting this afternoon after his reinstatement from the 15-day injured list. There’s a sense of relief in the organization following his January diagnosis of a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.

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Orioles and Yankees lineups in series finale at Camden Yards

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Ryan McKenna gets the start in center field this afternoon with the Yankees starting left-hander Carlos Rodón.

Adley Rutschman is the designated hitter for the Orioles and James McCann is behind the plate.

Anthony Santander is starting in right field after beginning last night’s game on the bench. Jorge Mateo is the second baseman, with Jordan Westburg at third.

Colton Cowser stays in left field.

For the Orioles

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Bradish reinstated from injured list to start today

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Kyle Bradish is ready to make his 2024 debut.

The Oriole reinstated Bradish from the 15-day injured list this morning and he’s starting against the Yankees in the series finale at Camden Yards. Bradish was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in January, received a platelet-rich plasma injection and worked his way back into the rotation.

Bradish’s injury rehab assignment could have run until mid-May, but the Orioles deemed him ready after one start with Double-A Bowie and two with Triple-A Norfolk.

Yohan Ramírez was designated for assignment after retiring the side in order last night in the ninth inning. He had a 6.00 ERA and 0.833 WHIP in five outings.

The 40-man roster is down to 39 players.

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Kjerstad understands role with Orioles and why it's drastically different than Triple-A

Heston Kjerstad

Heston Kjerstad sat at his locker yesterday, slumped in his chair and looking at his phone. He smiled when a visitor approached and asked for a few minutes.

He did the same thing the previous day. Being in or out of the Orioles lineup doesn’t influence his mood.

Kjerstad was making his second start since the Orioles recalled him on April 23. He played right field that night in Anaheim and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and he grounded out as a pinch-hitter for Ramón Urías in the 10th inning on April 26 against Athletics fireballing closer Mason Miller.

The organization’s No. 4 prospect, ranked 29th in baseball by MLB Pipeline, mostly has just sat. At his locker and on the bench. And without a word of complaint.

“It’s where the game works right now with the lineup,” he said. “I’m just doing the best with my preparation. Stay ready, whether it’s a pinch-hit late in the game or whatever they need from me. Just staying ready with my cage work and everything.

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O's offense comes up short as Yankees win 2-0

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In this matchup, Orioles right-hander Corbin Burnes was the pitcher with the much longer and better resume. But tonight, Yankees 25-year-old right-hander Luis Gil gave his team a chance to split this four-game series in Baltimore.

After losing here Monday and Tuesday, Gil, in his 13th major league start, shut down the Orioles over 6 1/3 scoreless innings as the Yankees beat the Birds 2-0 at Oriole Park.

Oswaldo Cabrera’s two-run homer in the fifth provided the only scoring of the game as these teams moved back into a first-place tie atop the American League East with the Orioles at 19-11 (.633) and the Yankees at 20-12 (.625).

Burnes’ pitch count was at 53 through three innings, in part due to a lot of early strikeouts, a long at-bat or two, and a couple of 20-pitch innings.

Juan Soto hit a groundball single up the middle at 111 mph with one out in the first. Burnes had fanned Anthony Volpe before the single and struck out Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on sliders after it during a 20-pitch inning.

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More on today's decision to put Rodriguez on injured list, Means says he's "ready to go"

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The clarity that must come to the Orioles’ rotation plans weren’t evident this afternoon.

Manager Brandon Hyde confirmed the obvious intention of starting John Means, who was reinstated today from the 15-day injured list. However, he isn’t ready to announce who’s on the mound Thursday afternoon or this weekend in Cincinnati.

“We have some roster moves we’ll have to make for a couple guys,” Hyde said.

The pitching waters became murkier with Grayson Rodriguez going on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. His next turn on regular rest would have come Saturday night.

Hyde said he didn’t know the severity of the injury but was staying optimistic.

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Coulombe on Webb's save: "It fired me up"

Jacob Webb

A lot can change in a span of a few days for bullpen pitchers. It has for the Orioles bullpen.

Heading into the Yankees series, the O’s ‘pen was coming off a weekend with two blown leads in the ninth. And that ‘pen had been scored on in 13 of the previous 16 games, pitching to an ERA of 5.37 in that span.

Then Cionel Pérez, Yennier Cano and Danny Coulombe combined for 3 1/3 scoreless to close out Monday’s 2-0 win over New York. And Keegan Akin and Jacob Webb combined for two scoreless in last night’s 4-2 victory.

Webb got his first save with the Orioles, getting four outs, three via a strikeout, on three different pitches Tuesday night.

He ended the eighth fanning Aaron Judge on a changeup and began the ninth with strikeouts of Giancarlo Stanton on a sweeper and of Anthony Rizzo looking at a 95 mph fastball. He got a groundout to end the game.

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Kjerstad in tonight's Orioles lineup

Heston Kjerstad

Heston Kjerstad is starting in right field and batting eighth tonight, his second time in the lineup since the Orioles recalled him.

Colton Cowser moves up to fifth. Ramón Urías is starting at third base.

Ryan O’Hearn is the designated hitter. Anthony Santander begins the game on the bench.

Santander’s nine doubles are tied for first in the American League, but he’s batting .213/.289/.426 in 28 games.

Adley Rutschman will try to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. He’s batting .388/.400/.592 (19-for-49) with one double, three home runs, 11 RBIs, a walk and five runs scored during his streak.

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