The Orioles have made the following roster moves:
- Recalled OF Ryan McKenna from Triple-A Norfolk.
- Placed INF Ryan Mountcastle on the 10-day Injured List with left AC joint inflammation, retroactive to September 17.
The Orioles have made the following roster moves:
HOUSTON – Ryan Mountcastle remains out of the Orioles lineup for the seventh game in a row, as the first leg of the road trip concludes this afternoon.
Heston Kjerstad is receiving his third consecutive start, again serving as the designated hitter.
Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop, with Ramón Urías at third base. Adam Frazier is at second base, and Jordan Westburg is on the bench.
The club didn’t announce any roster moves this morning.
Kyle Bradish is 11-7 with a 3.12 ERA and 1.087 WHIP in 27 starts. He’s registered 16 quality starts.
On this day a year ago - Sept. 20, 2022 - Heston Kjerstad went 1-for-4 with a triple and three RBI's for High-A Aberdeen in the South Atlantic League Championship Series. He would lead the IronBirds to a win and to a third and deciding game of the SAL final series that they would not win.
And for Kjerstad, who now has five games and 13 major league plate appearances under his belt, with two homers, hitting his second last night, his story includes his bout with myocarditis, one that delayed his minor league debut. But once he got started, he moved fast.
Kjerstad made his O’s professional debut with Low Single-A Delmarva on June 10, 2022, and ended the year with Aberdeen in the playoffs, before he tore up the Arizona Fall League. That led to beginning this year with Double-A Bowie, moving to Triple-A Norfolk and now making the majors. It all happened in a span of just over 15 months from that first game with the Shorebirds.
In a clubhouse interview Sunday morning, I reminded him that this time last year he was playing for Aberdeen in the SAL Championship Series.
“Definitely been awesome,” Kjerstad said. “Been a lot of different places on different teams over the past year. Definitely pumped now to be here. It’s been a real journey and really excited now to get things rolling up here and be part of a team that is this special.”
Now 6-1 at Houston since the start of the 2021 season, the Orioles can win the series tonight if they take Game 2 of this three-game set at Minute Maid Park.
The Orioles (94-56) lead the American League East by 2 1/2 games over Tampa Bay (92-59) and the Birds have a magic number of nine to clinch the division championship.
On Sunday the Orioles trailed heading to the last of the eighth, ninth and 10th innings and won. Last night they trailed at the end of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, yet won. They beat two different playoff teams in those games, going 2-0 when trailing after eight innings. Through Saturday, they were 1-46 when behind at the end of eight.
The Orioles now lead the major leagues with 48 comeback wins, with Cincinnati second (46) and Philadelphia (41) third.
In winning three in a row, Baltimore has outscored the Rays and Astros by 21-11.
HOUSTON - Aaron Hicks is out of tonight’s Orioles lineup after leaving last night’s game in the ninth inning with cramping in his hamstring. However, Hicks is walking without a limp today and said he should be available.
“I feel good today,” Hicks said. “I can play today. I’m good to go. Just got to hydrate and get things going a little quicker than normal.”
Hicks slid into second base last night and felt the hamstring grab, but it became much worse after he was ready to run onto the field for the bottom of the ninth.
“Obviously, it was enough to where I couldn’t finish the inning,” he said.
“I feel amazing because the last thing you want to happen is for it to keep happening. Today, I feel really good. I’ve been hydrating a lot. So, I’ll be good to go if I have to come in later in the game.”
In previous glory days of the Orioles from long ago – when they won 100 or more games three straight years from 1969-1971 – outstanding pitching and defense went hand-in-hand.
The Orioles won 11 Gold Gloves in that three-year period with players like Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger, Dave Johnson and Paul Blair leading the way.
The 2023 Orioles play some really good defense too. On Saturday, in an 8-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, maybe their biggest of the year, it was pitching and defense that showed the way.
Looking back at my scorecard, where I sometimes highlight good defensive plays, there is a lot of yellow highlights. A nifty double play turned in the fourth. Aaron Hicks a nice running catch in right in the fifth and Gunnar Henderson ranging right at shortstop in that same inning with a nice play that ended with a scoop at first base by Ryan O’Hearn. O’Hearn made a diving stop an inning later and another nice scoop on another nice Henderson play. Austin Hays ran way back into deep left and crashed into the wall after making a super running catch.
The glove-work was top notch. They probably don't record a shutout without it.
The Orioles lead the American League East by two games, plus hold the playoff tiebreaker over the Tampa Bay Rays with 13 games to play. They begin the last regular season road trip tonight at Houston in a matchup of AL division leaders and a possible playoff preview.
The Orioles (93-56) will play three games this week at Houston and then four at Cleveland. They then return home to wrap up the regular season with two games versus Washington and four against Boston.
Both best-of-three AL wild card series begin Oct. 3 and both of the best-of-five AL division series start Oct. 7. The American League Championship Series starts Oct. 15 and the 2023 World Series begins Friday, Oct. 27. If the Fall Classic goes seven games, it will end on Saturday, Nov. 4.
The Birds won the final two games of the Tampa Bay series by a combined 13-4 score to win the season series 8-5 over the Rays. It's the first time the O's have taken a season series from Tampa Bay since 2016. The Orioles played four series this year versus the Rays and didn't lose any of them, going 2-1, 1-1, 3-1 and 2-2.
In the eight games this year between those teams decided by one or two runs, the Orioles went 7-1.
The Orioles played the Tampa Bay Rays four series this year. The Rays did not win one series although they were in great shape to win this last one after winning the first two games.
They scored 11 runs in winning one close game and one blowout. Then the Orioles won one blowout and one close game.
The Tampa Bay offense, which began this series second in the AL in runs per game and second in team slugging and OPS, was held to four runs the last two games - games the O's won by a combined 13-4 score.
Over 20 innings on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, Baltimore pitchers held the Rays to 10 hits and three earned runs. Starting pitchers Grayson Rodriguez and Dean Kremer combined to allow one run over 13 innings.
The Orioles went 2-0-2 in four series versus Tampa Bay this year and won the season series 8-5 for their first season series win over Tampa Bay since 2016.
A series that got off to a pretty brutal start for the Orioles could have a real happy ending today with a win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
If they get the win, the Orioles (92-56) will widen their American League East lead to two games with 13 games left. And they will clinch their first playoff berth since the 2016 season.
The Orioles clinch a place in the playoffs today if they win, and even if they lose they will clinch with a loss by either Texas or Seattle. The Rays' magic number to clinch the postseason is also one, and the same scenarios are true today for the Rays. A loss by Texas or Seattle would put both Baltimore and Tampa Bay in the 2023 postseason.
A 93rd win would also make the 2023 Orioles the 17th team in club history to have 93 or more. Five O's teams have won 100 or more. The last was the 1980 Orioles. This club needs to go 8-6 or better in its remaining games to get there.
The O's broke their first-place tie with Tampa Bay with Saturday's 8-0 win at Oriole Park. Gunnar Henderson hit his 27th homer and had three hits and three RBIs. Six different O's drove in runs as they went 6-for-11 with runners in scoring position. After the O's had scored just six runs during a four-game losing streak, they had six by last night's fourth inning.
When I asked manager Brandon Hyde before last night's game how his clubhouse was holding up after four straight losses and two straight to Tampa Bay, he basically said he didn't sense any difference. His team was ready for a big game Saturday night after losing by 4-3 and 7-1 to a Rays team that was red-hot and had now tied the Orioles for the lead in the American League East.
“I just think they’re disappointed, but they’re going to bounce back, ready to play tonight,” Hyde said. “I haven’t sensed anything. You can hear them interacting well. We had a good hitters meeting a while ago, but we do every day. So, I think they’re ready to go.”
They were indeed ready to go.
After scoring six runs the previous four games, they scored six runs in four innings. Off Tyler Glasnow, a pitcher with a 3.15 ERA for the year. Glasnow was 2.53 in 10 second-half starts.
The Rays entered Saturday's game having allowed four or fewer earned runs in 11 consecutive games, their longest streak since a club-record 19-game run from Sept. 16, 2021 to April 10, 2022. Tampa Bay's pitching staff has posted an AL-best 2.79 ERA in that span.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde didn’t notice any panic inside his clubhouse this afternoon. His players behaved in the usual way, talking at their lockers, watching college football on the six televisions suspended from the ceiling, playing chess at one of the tables. Jordan Westburg grabbed a plate of food. Teammates headed outside to toss a ball.
Four losses in a row annoyed but didn’t rattle.
“I just think they’re disappointed, but they’re going to bounce back, ready to play tonight,” Hyde said before batting practice. “I haven’t sensed anything. You can hear them interacting well. We had a good hitters meeting a while ago, but we do every day. So, I think they’re ready to go.”
Grayson Rodriguez was amped, retiring the first nine batters and striking out four of six. Curtis Mead swung through a 100.1 mph fastball to end the second, the second-fastest strikeout pitch by an Orioles starter in the Statcast era. No one crossed the plate.
Gunnar Henderson was fired up, too. His first two swings of the game produced a leadoff single in the first and a 428-foot, two-run homer in the second, and he delivered a run-scoring single in the fourth. He also set one Orioles rookie record and tied a Hall of Famer on another list.
Hoping their offense will break out to help the cause, the Orioles host the Rays tonight looking for their first win in Game 3 of this series. With wins by 4-3 and 7-1 the last two nights, the Rays have tied the Orioles for first place atop the American League East.
Tonight's winner will sit alone atop the division.
Baltimore's offense, which produced just two runs in the last two games of the St. Louis series, has scored only six runs on 18 hits in the past four games. The O's have lost those four by a combined 17-6 score. They are 1-5 in the last six games by a 29-20 score.
The four-game losing streak matches the longest of the season for the Orioles, who also had lost four in a row June 27-July 1.
In this series, O's batters are just 6-for-59 (.102) scoring four runs and going 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
John Means is bouncing back in fine fashion after making his first start Tuesday since undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery in April 2022.
“Everything’s felt great,” he said today. “It’s felt better than it has in a while, so I’m really pleased with everything that’s going on and how I’m feeling.”
Means threw a bullpen session on Thursday, again with the desired results.
“Felt good, everything feels normal,” he said.
Staying with a six-man rotation puts Means on the mound again Monday night in Houston, where he could be pitted against veteran Justin Verlander. The teams haven't listed their starters for the three-game series.
An Oriole for the entire season until he was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk Aug. 23, right-hander Mike Baumann is back in the clubhouse and back on the active roster today.
He was recalled as righty Bryan Baker, who pitched three innings last night, was optioned back to the Tides.
Over six games since he was sent to Triple-A, Baumann has pitched six scoreless innings allowing just one hit. He has walked five and fanned nine with an .056 average against and a WHIP of 1.00 with Triple-A.
“Just worked on consistency,” said Baumann of his time on the farm. “Just kind of fine-tuning some things. Really just kind of getting a little reset. Focusing on attacking hitters and been feeling good about it.
“I knew there was good reason behind it (being sent to the minors). I’ve been in that situation before. Control what I can control and focus one day at a time.”
Ryan Mountcastle remains out of the Orioles lineup tonight after leaving Wednesday’s game with discomfort in his left shoulder.
An MRI was negative and Mountcastle has progressed to taking some swings. Manager Brandon Hyde expressed his optimism again yesterday.
“It’s a lot better,” he said.
Heston Kjerstad’s first major league hit last night was a solo home run. He’s out of the lineup tonight.
Aaron Hicks is in right field and Anthony Santander is serving as the designated hitter. Austin Hays returns to the lineup in left field.
The Orioles and Rays are tied atop the American League East. The one win that the Orioles need to clinch the tiebreaker remains on hold, but their magic number to secure a playoff spot is three after the Rangers lost last night.
What’s apparent is a four-game losing streak that’s tied for the longest this season.
The Orioles also lost four in a row June 27-July 1 and won nine of their next 11, including a season-best eight-game winning streak.
Orioles batters are 6-for-59 in this series. They’ve scored six runs in the last four games.
The Orioles have not had a long losing streak all year, matching their season-high of four in a row with last night's 7-1 loss to Tampa Bay. Now with two games remaining in this series, they need to find a way. Find a way to score more against the Rays and get at least one game in this series to hold the playoff tiebreaker.
The Orioles offense recently went through a stretch of scoring 10 or more runs in four of five games, scoring 48 runs in the five contests. They scored 155 runs in a 22-game span, an average of 7.05 per game.
They would sure take that now after losses in this series by one and six runs. Baltimore batters are 6-for-59 (.102) this series with three homers, but no doubles or triples. They are 1-for-6 in the two games with runners in scoring position, showing they've had very few chances to do much on offense.
In the last four games, the Orioles have scored six runs on just 18 hits, going 2-for-24 with RISP.
Now they have to find a way.
Jordan Westburg usually wouldn’t feel a smile creasing his face after his manager removed him for a pinch-hitter. His competitive side makes it hard to accept sitting, and definitely not with a grin, whether at the beginning or in the later innings. He wants the bat in his hands. He wants a challenge, and the chance to impact a game.
There are exceptions, though, like Thursday night at Camden Yards.
Westburg was supposed to lead off the bottom of the eighth against Rays reliever Robert Stephenson, but Brandon Hyde sent up Heston Kjerstad for his major league debut. The crowd roared when he stepped out of the dugout.
There was a more reserved but approving reaction inside of it.
Westburg knew the struggles that Kjerstad endured to reach this moment. The diagnosis of myocarditis, and later a strained hamstring. More than one setback. Questions about his professional future. Worries about his long-term health.
Now working on just their third losing streak of the year of three games or more, the Orioles (91-55) host the Tampa Bay Rays (91-57) tonight. It’s the second game of this critical series to impact first place in the American League East.
The Orioles lost 4-3 last night in the series opener and are now 26-14 in one-run games, 32-16 in series-opening games and 53-17 when they score first. They are now 6-4 versus Tampa Bay for the year and 28-17 in AL East games.
The Orioles have been so consistent this year that they have no long losing streaks, having dropped a season-high four straight from June 27-July 1. They lost three in a row twice – from May 6-8 and now.
The Orioles lead now is down to just one game atop the division. The O’s and Rays have been tied for first two times this year, on July 19 and July 21, and tonight would be a third occasion with a Tampa Bay victory.
After their 13-12 win over Boston on Saturday at Fenway Park, the O’s held a four-game lead atop the AL East.
Adam Jones and Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias sat at the front of the press conference. Jones would soon put on his No. 10 jersey after officially signing a contract that allows him to retire as an Oriole.
At the event attended by his wife Audie and two sons and others close to him, Jones talked about a special day for him with a pregame ceremony still to come tonight.
“Glad this day has finally come,” Jones said.
“Baltimore is a special part in my heart. I still consistently watch the Orioles games, even when in Japan. I adopted this city. My wife is from here, my kids were born here.
“We put our stamp here. The Boys and Girls clubs, the YMCA and with various other groups. It was more with the people of Baltimore. So many here know me, and not just from baseball.