Hays comes off IL, McKenna DFA

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The Orioles have made the following roster moves:

  • Reinstated OF Austin Hays from the 10-day Injured List (left calf strain).
  • Designated OF Ryan McKenna for assignment.
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Stowers recalled, Kjerstad optioned

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The Orioles have made the following roster moves:

  • Recalled OF Kyle Stowers from Triple-A Norfolk.
  • Optioned OF Heston Kjerstad to Triple-A Norfolk.
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Orioles claim Brewers RHP Martin

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The Orioles have made the following roster move:

  • Claimed RHP Corbin Martin off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk.

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

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Assessing some aspects of the O's with team about to hit 40-game mark

Brandon Hyde

As the Orioles hit the 39-game mark of their 2024 season on Sunday, they lost to Arizona failing to sweep that series. And they lost a game in the standings to the New York Yankees.

But now that they are about 25 percent of the way into the season, we can take a look at a few aspects of a team that is in first place and on a pace to win 108 games.

The starting pitching has sure been solid: Seeing Kyle Bradish and John Means return to the rotation by early May was big for the team. Now we wait to see if they can stay on the field but having them back already and throwing well was about a best-case scenario based on the outlook from March.

Corbin Burnes has been big as expected. His ERA and WHIP are close to what we saw during his 2021 Cy Young Award year. Cole Irvin has come up very big for the Orioles. And when Grayson Rodriguez returns, they will have six starters for five spots.

This unit has gotten the job done nicely and currently ranks third in the AL in ERA and sixth in innings.

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Unearned runs overshadow Kremer's 10 strikeouts in Orioles' 9-2 loss (updated)

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No one in the Orioles rotation has been willing to assist with the difficult task of making room for a sixth starter.

No one has stumbled to the point where an excuse for removal is created. So it’s left to the decision-makers in the organization to figure it out.

Dean Kremer followed his six scoreless innings in Cincinnati by not allowing an earned run today heading into the sixth, with a couple of errors doing more damage than the Diamondbacks.

Three unearned runs already were mountainous against Arizona ace Zac Gallen, and Jake McCarthy’s two-run shot to the flag court in right field was a dagger in the Orioles’ 9-2 loss before an announced Mother’s Day crowd of 31,448 at Camden Yards.

Kremer tied his career high with 10 strikeouts, but he also was charged with a third earned run when Cionel Pérez walked a batter and allowed an infield hit to Corbin Carroll and a two-run single to Ketel Marte.

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O's game blog: Chance for the homestand to start with three-game sweep

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As the Orioles have now opened a 1.5-game lead atop the American League East and have started the season’s longest homestand with two wins, today they have a chance for another series sweep.

Their third series sweep of the year came last weekend at Cincinnati and now they can add their fourth today. April 9-11 they won three straight at Boston to sweep the Red Sox by a 23-10 score. April 15-17 at home they swept Minnesota by a combined 22-9 score. Last weekend their starting pitchers threw a combined 19 1/3 scoreless innings at Great American Ball Park as they swept the Reds by a 16-2 score.

Friday they beat Arizona by 4-2 and yesterday they won 5-4 in 11 innings. Two of their past three wins have come via extra innings.

The Orioles hit two homers in Saturday’s win and lead the majors with 59 with the Dodgers next with 56. Gunnar Henderson hit his 12th homer of the year on Saturday and he is tied for the major league lead with Atlanta’s Marcell Ozuna and Houston’s Kyle Tucker.

Henderson hit 28 homers last year in 622 plate appearances or one every 22.2 PAs. This year that ratio is one every 14.3 with 12 in 172 plate appearances.

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Orioles pregame notes on Rodriguez, Means, Mountcastle and injury updates

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Grayson Rodriguez is eligible to return from the injured list on Wednesday and he seems to be trending in the right direction.

Rodriguez said he threw about 30 pitches this morning in his latest bullpen session, about double his amount Wednesday in D.C.

“I felt great,” he said.

Rodriguez said he’ll probably throw another ‘pen in the next few days, and the Orioles can decide whether he should go on a brief rehab assignment.

The right-hander’s preference, of course, is to get back on the active roster.

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Cowser stays in center field for today's series finale

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The Orioles are going for the sweep today against the Diamondbacks and trying to improve on a 26-12 record that matches the 1969 and 1970 teams for the best 38-game start in franchise history.

Cedric Mullins is on the bench again today. He struck out yesterday as a pinch-hitter and is 5-for-53 since his two-hit day in Kansas City on April 21.

Colton Cowser gets another start in center field. Ryan O’Hearn is in left after Heston Kjerstad started there yesterday.

Ramón Urías is the third baseman.

Jordan Westburg is playing second base after yesterday’s walk-off single in the 11th inning. Westburg has doubled in three consecutive games, and his four-hit game yesterday was the first of his career and the first this season by an Orioles player.

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After hot start, O's rookie Colton Cowser looks toward more opposite-field hitting

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O’s rookie outfielder Colton Cowser got off to such a hot start this year, that even when his bat cooled a bit in late April, the stat sheet for him still looked good enough that he was named the American League Rookie of the Month for March/April.

After the first 17 games this year, he was batting .400 with a 1.229 OPS. Around that time he was named the AL Player of the Week for a period where he went 10-for-23 with four homers.

But then from April 23-May 2, he was 3-for-28. Cowser did not start for two days in the series last weekend in Cincinnati and realized then he needed to start using left and left-center more and get back to his usual all-fields batting approach.

The one that got him to the big leagues in the first place. The one that helped him win those awards.

“I think I made a conscious effort in Cincinnati to start to get going back that way. I had a couple of days not in the lineup and really was just trying to think about what’s been going on.

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Quick Q&A with Dylan Bundy

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Dylan Bundy picked up a baseball and couldn’t make it zip like the old days. Couldn't come close. And he knew it was time.

The former top prospect’s pitching career was over.

Bundy made 29 starts with the Twins in 2022 and six last summer with Triple-A Syracuse in the Mets organization. They released him on July 24, and the next phase of his professional life slowly began to take shape.

The retirement papers were filed over the winter, around the same time that Bundy got his realtor’s license. He’s still living in Sperry, Okla., where he bought a house next to the one he grew up in, is working for Ary Land Company and he also offers pitching and hitting instruction to stay involved in the sport.

Bundy and his wife Caitlin also became first-time parents, bringing their son Koda into the world on Feb. 11.

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O's game blog: Looking for two in a row over Arizona

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Beginning their series against Arizona last night, the Orioles were just one game over .500 this year versus National League teams. They had gone 1-2 against Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, 3-0 versus Cincinnati and 1-1 against Washington.

A 6-5 record became 7-5 against the NL with Friday’s 4-2 win to start a nine-game homestand.

Cole Irvin won his fourth straight start, the first time he has done that in his career. And he became the first Oriole to win four in a row since Kyle Bradish from Aug. 20-Sept. 8, 2023.

He ran his scoreless innings streak to 22 2/3 innings before allowing Ketel Marte’s third-inning solo homer. That is the longest scoreless streak for the club since Dean Kremer went 22 2/3 from June 17-July 4, 2022.

Irvin, who threw a season-high 95 pitches, improved to 4-1 with a 2.86 ERA while allowing two runs over 5 2/3 innings. Over his past four starts he has given up just two runs on 15 hits over 25 2/3 for an ERA of 0.70 in that span.

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The trend continues: O's rank low in walks, high in runs, high in wins

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Here is a tale of two Orioles hitters. Both are doing well in 2024 and both did well in 2023. But their batter profiles have changed a lot in what is still kind of a small sample for this year. But we're about to reach the 25 percent point into this season, so it’s not that small.

But so far Adley Rutschman is walking a lot less and striking out more, yet still hitting well. Ryan O’Hearn is walking more, fanning less and still hitting well.

Rutschman’s OPS was .809 last year, and he took 59.0 percent of pitches he saw. This year he is taking less at 51.6 percent, but heading into Friday’s series opener with Arizona, his OPS was at .814.

But his walk rate has dropped from an above-average 13.4 percent last year to a below-average 5.1 now. His strikeout rate is up from 14.7 to 17.7. Making less contact, walking less but still a very productive hitter for the Orioles.

Now take Ryan O’Hearn, who had an .801 OPS last year. That figure was .915 at first pitch Friday (and is .930 now).

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

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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.

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Os game blog: Cole Irvin pitches the series and homestand opener versus Arizona

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After splitting a two-game series at Washington, followed by Thursday’s off day, the Orioles get back on the field tonight. They host the Diamondbacks to start their longest homestand of the year featuring nine games versus Arizona, Toronto and Seattle.

The Orioles (24-12) lead the AL East by a ½ game over the New York Yankees, who lost Thursday to Houston. Baltimore is 12-7 at home and 12-5 on the road.

The Orioles have won five of their last six, seven of nine, 12 of 17 and 16 of the last 22 games. They went 4-1 on their road trip to Cincinnati and Washington.

By winning the second game of the two-game series at Nats Park, 7-6 in 12 innings, the O’s extended their club record streak of regular-season series without being swept to 103. At three hours, 35 minutes, it was Baltimore's longest game of the season. It was also their longest game by innings since a 13-inning matchup on May 20, 2022, against Tampa Bay.

The Orioles are now 10-2 after a loss this year.

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

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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.”

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Mental-skills work is part of the turnaround for lefty Cole Irvin

Cole Irvin

On this date last year, O’s lefty Cole Irvin was pitching with Triple-A Norfolk trying to find his way back to the big leagues. A 10.66 ERA his first three starts got the veteran shipped back to the farm to figure it out.

He would end the 2023 season with an ERA of 4.42 for Baltimore, not great. But he did pitch to a 3.22 ERA from June 10 on last season, showing improvement and some promise.

But nothing like this.

Nothing like what he has shown during this 2024 season when he is 3-1 with a 2.86 ERA in six starts.

He has not been scored on since April 15 versus Minnesota. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless Friday night at Cincinnati, his third straight scoreless start.

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Kjerstad said Mayo has been locked in all season (plus O's win in 12)

Coby Mayo

After a year where he tore it up at Double-A and Triple-A and finished the 2023 season with 29 homers and 99 RBIs – leading the O’s farm in both – Coby Mayo is raking again.

Heston Kjerstad played with him with last year and this season and said Mayo has basically been locked in all spring and all year.

“Especially after playing with Coby last year, there is room for improvement, but he was already a really good hitter. So, for him to improve this year is really impressive. Still really young and for me, he’s more mature at the plate. He’s using all parts of the field a little bit better. Not just trying to pull everything.

“He has realized if he just makes contact, he hits the ball hard. He doesn’t have to try to produce that," said Kjerstad. 

In a combined 140 games last year with 78 at Bowie and 62 at Norfolk, Mayo, 22, hit .290/.410/.563/.973.

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Similarities between Nats and O's striking after series split

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It’s easy to draw comparisons between the Nationals and Orioles. The two teams are 35 miles apart, and over the past six years have each undergone their own organizational rebuilds, which are now at different stages.

Of course, the Nationals won the World Series in 2019. The Orioles began their rebuild that year after a 47-115 season in 2018, which led to the hiring of executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde, and the drafting of Adley Rutschman with the No. 1 overall selection.

The Nats didn’t start their rebuild until halfway through the 2021 season by trading Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers. Then it really became a reality the following summer when they traded Juan Soto to the Padres for a package of five top prospects while the superstar outfielder was still two years away from free agency.

The time in between the respective rebuilds gave the Orioles a head start, and here they are six years later with one of the best records in baseball fresh off an American League East title and their first postseason appearance since 2016.

That’s where the Nationals hope to be in the coming years. But with the way the first edition of this year’s Beltway Series went – a two-game split with a wild back-and-forth finale last night – the similarities between the two teams are even more striking.

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

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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.

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O's game blog: Trying to keep the sweepless streak alive at Nats Park

Kyle Bradish

The Orioles, after losing 3-0 at Washington last night, need a win tonight in the second and final game of this series to avoid being swept in a regular season series for the first time since May 2022.

The Orioles went sweepless the entire 2023 regular season and through their first 11 series of this season. But their record run of going 102 straight regular season series without being swept could end tonight at Nats Park.

The Orioles were swept three straight in the American League Division Series last October. But their last sweep in the regular season was at Detroit from May 13-15, 2002.

Their current run of 102 straight series of at least two decisions (no ties) is easily the longest in O’s history, blowing by a run of 46 straight sweepless series during the 1971 and 1972 seasons.

This is the fourth-longest streak in major league history.

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