Orioles and Red Sox lineups (and roster moves)

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BOSTON – The regular season is down to eight games for the Orioles, and they’re still 3 ½ behind the Mariners for the last wild card.

It’s more like 4 ½ because Seattle owns the tiebreaker.

The Orioles made a flurry of roster moves. They placed infielder Ramón Urías on the 10-day injured list with a right knee sprain, which ends his season, optioned relievers Joey Krehbiel and Jake Reed to Triple-A Norfolk, and recalled infielder Tyler Nevin, left-hander Keegan Akin and right-hander Beau Sulser.

Akin is replacing Urías, which enables him to be recalled this early after the Orioles optioned him on Monday.

Nevin is starting at third base tonight.

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Orioles make six roster moves

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The Orioles have made the following roster moves:

  • Recalled LHP Keegan Akin from Triple-A Norfolk.
  • Recalled INF Tyler Nevin from Triple-A Norfolk.
  • Recalled RHP Beau Sulser from Triple-A Norfolk.
  • Optioned RHP Joey Krehbiel to Triple-A Norfolk after yesterday’s game.
  • Optioned RHP Jake Reed to Triple-A Norfolk after yesterday’s game.
  • Placed INF Ramón Urías on the 10-day Injured List with a right knee sprain.
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Notes on Henderson, 20-game winners anniversary and a tough night in Boston

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After he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on Sunday against Houston, O’s rookie Gunnar Henderson saw his average drop to .276. At that point he was 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts his previous four games and 4-for-29 with 11 strikeouts his previous eight.

Reason to worry? Nope.

Henderson, still just 21, began the game Monday at Boston by drawing a walk. Then he walked again. Then he walked again. Three walks in the first five innings. Then he mashed a baseball out to center in the sixth. A two-run homer that he hit 111 mph and it went 428 feet. A mammoth blast.

What slump?

Henderson continues to show he belongs in the majors and that he has smarts and poise and composure beyond his years. When he made his MLB debut Aug. 31, he became the youngest player to make his debut for the Orioles (21 years-063 days) since Dylan Bundy (19-313) on Sept. 23, 2012 and youngest position player since Manny Machado (20-034) on Aug. 9, 2012.

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Stowers wasn't scared of the Green Monster

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Before rookie Kyle Stowers could step inside the famed Green Monster yesterday, he first had to stand in front of it and try to track fly balls.

He did it in batting practice Monday afternoon and later during the game, the grass soaked beneath his feet from a storm that sent the teams indoors after the second inning.

Stowers got his first experience playing left field in Boston, where legends have roamed and others have been flummoxed. The distance from home plate, the narrow strip of dirt that constitutes foul territory, and the areas on the wall that create unusual caroms.

Spring training was the closest that Stowers came to simulating the Boston experience, but he played right field at JetBlue Park, also known as “Fenway South.” Doesn't count except for what he saw.

“I never played left in any of the mock ballparks,” he said. “The closest thing I can say that I’ve done is in Durham. I don’t think it’s quite as high, but same style of wall. There’s definitely a little more strategy with how you play defensively. I was just trying to get as comfortable as I could in warmups, and felt like there were some moments I did a good job of playing left, and some moments that probably could have been a little better.”

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O's game blog: Looking for another win at Fenway Park

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Their regular season is now down to single digits – nine games remaining over the next nine days – as the Orioles return to Fenway Park tonight for Game 2 of a four-game series and seven-game road trip.

The trip got off to a great start last night, even though they had to put up with a 100-minute rain delay. The O’s mashed five homers in beating Boston 14-8. They never trailed in the game and took a 4-0 lead in the second. But Boston pulled within 6-5 in the fourth inning. The O’s then pulled away, scoring seven runs their next three at-bats. They scored in seven of their nine at-bats during the night.

The Orioles are now 6-0 when hitting five homers this year:

* Aug. 5 vs. Minnesota, win 5-3
* June 7 vs. Cubs, win 9-3
* June 27 at Seattle, win 9-2
* Aug. 19 vs. Boston, win 15-10
* Sept. 3 vs. Oakland, win 8-1
* Sept. 26 at Boston, win 14-8

Anthony Santander, who recently went through a stretch of 13 straight games without a homer or RBI, now has hit two homers in two of the last three games. He has 31 on the year, four over the past three games and 10 in his last 29 contests.

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Orioles and Medstar Health open pitching lab in Bel Air

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The Orioles and Medstar Health have teamed up to unveil a state-of-the-art pitching lab in Bel Air, Md. The pitching lab was created to provide a holistic approach to pitching mechanics and serve as an evaluation destination for Orioles pitchers at every level, as well as players of all ages in the Maryland community.

The new facility will feature a pitching tunnel that is outfitted with the best technology in the game and will primarily be used to determine potential injury risks, sharpen pitching techniques, and improve pitching efficiency. Biomechanic specialists will work to create customized programs for each player based on advanced technology, analytics, and expert evaluation. Combining science, medicine, and analytics, the Orioles will rely on medical professionals from MedStar Health to be a part of the comprehensive experience and an added layer of connection to the many tools and resources available for the highest level of competitors in professional baseball.

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After solid outing at AAA, will next one for Grayson Rodriguez be with O's?

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The top-ranked pitching prospect in baseball made his latest outing last night and right-hander Grayson Rodriguez threw well for Triple-A Norfolk at home in a no-decision versus Jacksonville.

Will his next start be with the Orioles?

A lot of fans would be excited to see that. Whether the Orioles are in or out of the playoff race with a few games to go, it would be a sight to see, the No. 4 ranked prospect in baseball joining the big club and no doubt there would be Adley Rutschman at the plate to catch him.

With just two games left in the Norfolk season, Rodriguez will end his Triple-A campaign, going 6-1 with a 2.20 ERA over 14 starts. In 69 2/3 innings this season at Triple-A he allowed 44 hits and just two homers with 21 walks and 97 strikeouts.

Last night versus Jacksonville, he went five innings allowing three hits and one run (on his second homer allowed) with three walks and six strikeouts, throwing 89 pitches.

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Leftovers for breakfast

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BOSTON – The Orioles had some lineup intrigue yesterday, withholding it much later than usual to ascertain the health of a couple players. They also announced an unrelated roster move less than an hour before first pitch.

Can’t rush the process.

Reliever Keegan Akin was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk one day after facing a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 11th inning against the Astros and surrendering four runs.  

The club provided some context, passing along that the Orioles needed a fresh arm and plucked Logan Gillaspie from the taxi squad, and it was a tactical maneuver based on certain matchups down the road.

Akin’s performance didn’t influence the decision, though there’s been a noticeable decline.

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Orioles recall Gillaspie, option Akin

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The Orioles have made the following roster moves:

  • Recalled RHP Logan Gillaspie from Triple-A Norfolk.
  • Optioned LHP Keegan Akin to Triple-A Norfolk.
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O's game blog: The road trip opener at Boston

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The Orioles begin the final road trip of the season tonight, starting a seven-game trip to Boston and New York with the opener of a four-game series at Fenway Park. The Orioles have had two straight losing homestands at Camden Yards going, 4-6 from Sept. 2-11 and going 3-4 in the homestand versus Detroit and Houston that ended on Sunday afternoon. Two of their three losses during the homestand were by one run, and another game went extra innings.

The Orioles (79-73) have 10 games left and need to go 3-7 or better to secure their first winning season since going 89-73 in 2016.

The Birds are 11-12 in September with five games left in the month and would need to go 4-1 or 5-0 to clinch their fourth consecutive winning month after going 17-10 in August, 16-9 in July, and 14-12 in June. The last time the Orioles had four consecutive winning months in a season was June (16-12), July (17-8), August (19-9) and September (17-10) 2014.

The Orioles have gone 30-36 (.455) this season versus American League East opponents. In 2021 they went 20-56 (.263) in division games. They won just three series last year against AL East clubs, going 3-19-2. This season they are 9-11-1 in AL East series.

The Orioles are 8-7 versus Boston, 8-8 against Toronto, 9-10 versus Tampa Bay and 5-11 against the New York Yankees.

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Jordan Lyles: Much more than innings eater for the 2022 Orioles

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You are not going to find his name on many American League pitching stat leaders – although he has given up about as many hits as anyone in the AL this year – yet right-hander Jordan Lyles has meant a ton to the Orioles this year. Just ask his teammates and those he has mentored this year in the Baltimore starting rotation.

A starting rotation with a lot of youthful potential that is starting to show their stuff with his support and leadership along the way.

Lyles is 11-11 with a 4.50 ERA heading into tonight’s start in Boston. But stats and being a so-called “innings eater” don’t begin to tell the full story of his impact on the 2022 Orioles.

“He is invaluable in so many ways,” right-hander Tyler Wells said Sunday. “You can’t really put a price on what he has done for us as a starting staff, as a team, and as a mentor for a lot of us. He really teaches us what it’s like to be a starter and how he has made a 10-year career into what he has. All based on certain principles – like going deep into games and giving your team a chance to win every single time.

“As us young guys continue to develop, our mindsets, our development and pitching strategies we are getting are based off of learning from a guy that has had a very successful career.”

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Orioles trying to get young pitchers through September grind

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Félix Bautista might not have hit the proverbial wall this month, but the energy to go around or scale it is running low.

He isn’t alone, of course. The grind of a full season is harshest on the ones who haven’t experienced it, and he’s got some company inside the Orioles’ clubhouse.

Bautista is a rookie. Don’t let his age and size fool you. And he admitted after Saturday night’s loss, when he was charged with four runs in 1 1/3 innings and blew his first save since the Jorge López trade, that he felt “a little bit tired.”

“But I have no doubt,” he added, “I can finish the season off strong.”

Who really knows? It’s the proper mindset with nothing to fall back on that ensures it.

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Orioles must settle for series split with 6-3 loss in 11 innings (updated)

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How would the Orioles respond to last night’s crushing defeat?

By reliving it in a different form this afternoon.

By getting a solid start from Austin Voth and practically no offense for seven innings. By carrying the game past regulation with some late dramatics.

And it rained.

The game was halted after the bottom of the sixth inning with Astros starter Cristian Javier facing the minimum number of batters and permitting just one baserunner. Javier, at 76 pitches, didn’t return after a 46-minute delay.

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O's game blog: The series and homestand finale

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After their gut-punch loss on Saturday night, it’s a quick turnaround for the Orioles today as they try to erase that memory and win this afternoon to take the series from the now 100-win Houston Astros.

When Anthony Santander hit his second homer of the game – a two-run shot in the last of the eighth – the Orioles had taken a 9-7 lead. But that lead would not hold. Houston’s four-run ninth led the Astros to an 11-10 win. Houston improved to 100-53 by winning for the fifth time in seven games, 11th in 14 and 19th time in the past 25 games.

Houston has become the first club in American League history to reach 100 wins four times in the span of five full seasons, per Elias Sports Bureau. And Dusty Baker is one of four managers in MLB history to win 100 games with a team in both leagues (also: Sparky Anderson, Whitey Herzog and Tony LaRussa). Their 100 wins ties a franchise record for most wins in the first 153 games of a season (also: 2019). Houston recorded its 28th comeback win and this marked their third game of the season surrendering 10-or-more runs (last: 5/14 at WSH, 13).

The Orioles (79-72) now have 11 games remaining. They lost ground Saturday to both Seattle and Toronto in the wild card race. They are four games behind Seattle, 4 1/2 back of Tampa Bay and 5 1/2 behind Toronto, which holds the first AL wild card today.

The Orioles had their streak of 22 scoreless innings pitched snapped with Jose Altuve’s two-run home run in the third inning. Baltimore scored five runs in the fourth inning, their 11th time scoring at least five in an inning this season. They fell to 58-2 when leading after six innings and are now 21-24 in one-run games. The O’s 17 hits is their most in a loss since Aug. 10, 2018 versus Boston, when they also had 17. Six different O’s tallied multi-hit games, the second-most in a game this year (8/19 vs. Boston, 7).

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Wells "heartbroken" that he can't keep pitching for Orioles in 2022

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Tyler Wells is coming to grips with the idea that his first season as a starting pitcher is over, that he can’t offer more support for a final playoff push beyond encouraging teammates.

It isn’t easy.

The Orioles placed Wells on the 15-day injured list last week with right shoulder inflammation. He’s eligible to return on Oct. 5 for the final game of the season, but he won’t pitch again until spring training.

“It was a little sore after my last start, and then throwing in the bullpen it was still sore, so that’s when I mentioned it to the pitching coaches and all them,” he said.

“Obviously, it’s extremely disappointing. Honestly, I’m kind of heartbroken about it, given the fact that we’re chasing a wild card spot and I want to be able to contribute and continue to help the team. But obviously it just wasn’t in the books this year.”

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Orioles lineup vs. Astros

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Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has seen his club bounce back from hard losses to keep its season moving forward. The next challenge comes this afternoon.

It won’t be easy following last night’s 11-10 loss to the Astros, who are trying to salvage a split of the four-game series.

The defeat pushed the Orioles four games behind the Mariners for the last wild card. The tie-breaker belongs to Seattle, which scored in the ninth inning last night to beat the Royals.

Eleven games remain and the Orioles still need two wins to assure a no-losing season.

The left-handed lineup turns with Gunnar Henderson, Kyle Stowers and Terrin Vavra. Adley Rutschman is catching.

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O's minor league championships and Gunnar on Westburg

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When the high Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds played for the South Atlantic League championship this week, I wrote that the last two O’s minor league championship teams were the 2011 Single-A Frederick Keys and the 2015 Double-A Bowie Baysox.

And while Aberdeen fell short of a title, a reader on Twitter asked if they were the only O’s minor league titles. And the answer is certainly no since the Orioles have been playing in Baltimore since 1954.

I asked the club's public relations staff a question I have also often wondered about – how many minor league championships have O’s farm clubs won in team history? And, as with most minor league information one would seek, records are incomplete and hard to fully know since we are talking about so many teams in so many leagues over so many years.

But thanks to Nate Rowan and Liam Davis of the O’s staff, their research did produce a list of champions. And the O’s want to take a longer and closer look at this list this winter to produce as complete a list as they can for next year’s media guide.

So far, this is what can be confirmed.

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Leftovers for breakfast

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Mike Baumann was a surprise starter last night. No one expected him to be the next link in the chain.

The past three starters worked a minimum of 8 2/3 innings, with Dean Kremer tossing his first career complete-game shutout Friday night. Twenty-seven years passed since the Orioles put together a streak of that length. Forty years since they did it in four consecutive games.

Baumann was making his second career start only because Tyler Wells went on the injured list Friday with right shoulder inflammation. Otherwise, Baumann would have sat in the bullpen and waited for his 15th appearance.

The Orioles used him to start Game 1 of a Sept. 5 doubleheader because Jordan Lyles had the stomach flu. Baumann lasted a career-high five innings. He went six innings with Triple-A Norfolk on Aug. 31, a mark that manager Brandon Hyde would have celebrated last night with a fresh set of relievers.

“There’s going to have to be a lot of first-pitch swinging,” he quipped.

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Orioles surrender four runs in ninth and lose 11-10 (updated)

The sight was odd but not unexpected. A reliever warming by the fourth inning. Runs on the board for the visiting team.

Mike Baumann wasn’t called upon as a starter tonight to give the Orioles the same length as his predecessors. He was subbing for injured right-hander Tyler Wells, and the Oriole needed to keep evaluating him. That’s why he was chosen.

They got four innings out of him. He left with a lead. The game was placed in the hands of a fresh bullpen. Pretty much as designed.

The rest of it imploded. No where in the plan was Félix Bautista throwing a career-high 33 pitches in 1 1/3 innings, charged with four runs and his first blown save since the Jorge López trade in a stunning 11-10 loss to the Astros before an announced crowd of 22,546 at Camden Yards.

Anthony Santander homered twice, the second a two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth that gave the Orioles a 9-7 lead. But the Astros loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, a run scored on Alex Bregman’s fielder’s choice grounder, Kyle Tucker doubled to tie the game.

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O's game blog: Mike Baumann faces Houston in Game 3

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The Orioles look to continue their winning ways over the Astros tonight as the teams play the third game of a four-game series at Camden Yards. The O’s will also try to keep their amazing recent run of pitching going, a run that has seen their staff allow just one run the last three games.

The Orioles (79-71) have 12 games remaining in the regular season and have now won three in a row by a combined 16-1 score. After scoring just two runs in the first two games of the Detroit series, they now have 16 in these three games and they have gone 10-for-18 with runners in scoring position in those games.

The Orioles improved to 44-32 at home with Friday’s win and they are 27-15 at home since June 22.

For the third time in the five games that they have played against Houston this year, the Orioles shut out the Astros last night as right-hander Dean Kremer pitched a complete-game four-hitter on 106 pitches. He threw a combined 29 two and four-seam fastballs with 29 cutters, 27 curveballs and 21 changeups. He got 15 swings and misses. In two starts versus Houston, Kremer has allowed one run and eight hits over 16 2/3.

In his past eight starts, he is 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA and has allowed just two homers in that span over 51 innings. For the season Kremer improved to 8-5 with a 3.07 ERA.

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