Orioles first-pitch proficiency, Baumann passing Jackson, being careful with Bautista

Mike Baumann white jersey

Orioles rookie Jordan Westburg stood at the plate yesterday against Mets starter José Quintana, nobody on base and two outs in the sixth inning, and got the barrel of his bat on a first-pitch sinker. His line drive through the left side of the infield, clocked at 108.7 mph, produced the Orioles’ fourth hit of the afternoon.

Catcher James McCann led off the seventh with a double down the left field line on a first-pitch changeup from Quintana, and he scored on a fielder’s choice grounder.

The only runs in the game.

Pretty much on brand for this club.

The Orioles began yesterday leading the majors with a .395 average on the first pitch after ranking 26th last season at .316, according to STATS.

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Bullpen comes up big as Orioles complete sweep of Mets (updated)

fujinami pitches white

The bullpen juggling began today with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning, after balls kept missing the strike zone. Manager Brandon Hyde not wanting the Orioles to drop a game in the series.

Hyde has limits to his patience and desires to back off his relievers. Kyle Bradish tied his career high with five walks but didn’t allow a run. The pressing of luck would have to stop.

Former Orioles outfielder DJ Stewart grounded out against left-hander Cionel Pérez, the matchup game working out, and Jorge Mateo tripled and scored in the bottom half of the inning.

Félix Bautista notched his 30th save after Shintaro Fujinami topped 100 mph on six of his nine pitches, and the Orioles registered their seventh sweep with a 2-0 victory over the Mets before an announced crowd of 27,100 at Camden Yards.

Mets left-hander José Quintana shut out the Orioles through the fourth, but center fielder Rafael Ortega whiffed on a diving attempt on a sinking liner and Mateo had his second triple of the season. Third baseman Mark Vientos mishandled Adley Rutschman’s grounder and settled for the out at first to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

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Hyde on Mateo: “He’s been a total pro about everything"

mateo celebrates white

Austin Hays is out of the lineup for the second consecutive day due to soreness that’s accumulated over the last two series.

Hays played left field in all four games against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre and made a sliding catch in foul territory in the ninth inning Friday night at Camden Yards with the Orioles leading 10-3. Hays came up limping and grimacing, but he stayed in the game.

Colton Cowser started in left last night, and Hays is on the bench again today, with Ryan McKenna in left and Jorge Mateo in center.

“He’s made a lot of diving catches on turf, on dirt,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Just a little sore. Off-day works out tomorrow where he’s going to get a few days off here. Should be available possibly off the bench today but just wanted to give him another day to mend a little bit.”

Mateo is making his eighth career start and 14th appearance in center. He handled the final two innings last night and didn't have a ball hit to him.

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Mateo starting in center field today for Orioles

mateo white

The Orioles will go for the sweep this afternoon with Jorge Mateo making his first start in center field in two years.

Austin Hays is on the bench again today. He must be one of the “bumps and bruises” guys from the trip to Toronto.

Mateo was a defensive substitution in center field last night. He hasn’t started since June 13, 2021 with the Padres.

Manager Brandon Hyde said yesterday that Mateo has worked out in center to improve the club’s depth with Cedric Mullins and Aaron Hicks on the injured list.

“Of course, I feel comfortable playing out there,” Mateo said via interpreter Brandon Quinones.

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Leftovers from 1983 Orioles media sessions

palmer and ripken

Players stood in the dugout yesterday at sold out Camden Yards to watch the ceremony honoring the 1983 World Series champions. None of them born before future Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. squeezed Garry Maddox’s line drive for the last out.

All of them hoping 40 years is the limit between titles.

Ripken headed downstairs after the Orioles’ 7-3 win last night and talked to manager Brandon Hyde in the hallway outside the clubhouse. The 1983 team endorses the 2023 group that is a season-high 27 games above .500, loving the talent and energy, and how it’s brought fans back to Camden Yards.

Here’s more from Friday’s media sessions:

Al Bumbry on the similarity between the 1983 and 2023 Orioles.

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Sellout crowd celebrates 1983 Orioles team and 2023's latest victory (updated)


A capacity crowd stood and cheered players from the 1983 championship team as they walked onto the field in a pregame ceremony, with the loudest ovations aimed at the three Hall of Famers. Fans chanted Eddie Murray’s name like the old days. Rick Dempsey waved a towel over his head, tossed it to the ground, lifted his arms and spelled out O-R-I-O-L-E-S.

He wasn’t a solo act.

The home venue sounded like old Memorial Stadium tonight, the clock spun back 40 years. Murray, Cal Ripken Jr. and Jim Palmer threw out the ceremonial first pitches. Highlights from the season were played on the video board between innings.

The current Orioles soaked in the nostalgia, watching from the dugout along with team executive Mike Elias, then set out again to leave their own mark.

It’s usually black and blue on an opponent.

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Orioles updates on Hicks, Mullins, Wells and Means

Cedric Mullins run orange home

Orioles outfielder Aaron Hicks is nearing a rehab assignment as he recovers from a strained left hamstring.

Hicks hasn’t played since diving for a fly ball on July 24 in Philadelphia. He’s batting .252/.349/.435 with four doubles, a triple, six home runs and 20 RBIs in 42 games with the Orioles.

“He’s doing really well,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “He is getting close. He’s progressing every day, getting some running on the field. Took some batting practice on the field yesterday, and just getting closer and closer. Getting his treatment in.

“I would expect him to be out sometime soon. I’m not really sure on the date. We’re kind of day-to-day with him, but he’s definitely progressing well.”

Cedric Mullins begins his rehab assignment tonight at Double-A Bowie. He hasn’t played since July 15, when he strained his right adductor groin muscle while running from first to third base on a foul ball.

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Orioles lineup vs. Mets

ryan o'hearn hits orange

The Orioles will attempt tonight to move a season-high 27 games above .500 and perhaps expand on their two-game lead over the second-place Rays.

Ryan O’Hearn is in right field again tonight and batting cleanup. Colton Cowser is in left field. Austin Hays is on the bench.

Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop again. Jordan Westburg is playing second base.

Ryan Mountcastle is 14-for-28 in his last seven games. He’s batting fifth and playing first base.

Kyle Gibson has posted three quality starts in a row to raise his season total to 12. He’s made eight career starts against the Mets and registered a 3.98 ERA and 1.721 WHIP in 40 2/3 innings.

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McCann ties career high in RBIs and Orioles find more reasons to celebrate (updated)

mccann hit

The 1983 Orioles had three future Hall of Famers on their roster but also reserves who stepped up in pressure situations, contributions made from top to bottom that led to the organization’s last World Series championship.

This year’s club is reliant on 26 players, too early to know who might be ticketed for Cooperstown. And they keep finding new and creative ways to win.

It could be a starter or reliever, a regular or a backup. Many times, it’s a group effort.

In his first game against the Mets since they traded him in December, catcher James McCann had a two-run single in the fourth inning, a two-run double in the sixth and an RBI single in the seventh to tie his career high. Rookie Jordan Westburg reached base four times, scoring from first base in the sixth on Ryan O’Hearn’s tie-breaking fly ball that fell in right-center field, and hammering a 424-foot, three-run homer in the seventh.

Mike Baumann got a big double play to end the top half of the inning and retired all four batters that he faced.

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Notes on Orioles' 1983 celebration, Showalter's return to Baltimore and rehab updates

dempsey singleton and palmer

More than 20 members of the Orioles 1983 World Series championship team are in Baltimore for the 40th anniversary celebration. A few players didn’t expect to be invited back, saying their group won’t be the most recent to win a title.

They think this Orioles team is destined to make its own history.

A three-games series against the Mets begins with the Orioles holding the best record in the American League and second-best in baseball.

“Well, it’s really nice of them to say that, but we have a long way to go and big shoes to fill,” manager Brandon Hyde said today.

“That was a great team, so I’m excited to see some of these guys, meet some of them. I haven’t met very many of them, but fortunate to get to rub shoulders with Jim Palmer on most days and hear about ’83 stories and other Orioles past stories. It’s fun to have them here. It’s nice for them to be recognized in the ballpark, and they should be. It’s an awesome feat to win a World Series and they should be celebrated throughout the city.”

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Orioles and Mets lineups at Camden Yards (plus notes)

mountcastle and o'hearn

The Orioles are back home for a weekend series against the Mets, followed by three games against the Astros.

Ryan Mountcastle, who went 11-for-13 with four doubles and six RBIs in Toronto, is batting second and playing first base. He tied the club record for hits in a series of four games or fewer. Merv Rettenmund went 11-for-18 when the Orioles swept Cleveland in a four-game series in September 1971.

In 18 games since returning from vertigo, Mountcastle has gone 23-for-50 (.460) with a 1.220 OPS, seven doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs.

Adley Rutschman is leading off and serving as designated hitter. Gunnar Henderson is batting third and playing shortstop.

Ryan O’Hearn stays in right field. Jordan Westburg is the second baseman. Ryan McKenna starts in center field.

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This, that and the other

Colton Cowser

The Orioles’ posted lineup yesterday had Ryan McKenna in center field instead of Colton Cowser for the third game in a row. Three out of the four played at Rogers Centre.

Facing left-handers Hyun Jin Ryu and Yusei Kikuchi provided a built-in explanation. Sitting Cowser yesterday against right-hander Kevin Gausman required one.

Manager Brandon Hyde cited Gausman’s career reverse splits during his pregame session with the assembled media. But he also explained how a few days of extra work and batting practice could benefit Cowser, along with a chance to “relax.”

This is one way for a contender to handle a rookie’s struggles. The other, of course, would be to option him.

If wins weren’t as important in the grand scheme, like over the past four years, the Orioles could keep starting Cowser and view it as part of his development. But that won’t work in 2023.

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Orioles lineup for series finale in Toronto (plus notes)

O’Hearn points grey

Jack Flaherty makes his Orioles debut this afternoon in Toronto, as the Orioles try to rebound from last night’s 4-1 loss and claim their 21st series.

Flaherty went 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA in five July starts with the Cardinals before Tuesday’s trade. His only career start against the Blue Jays was April 1 in St. Louis, and he tossed five scoreless and hitless innings with seven walks, four strikeouts and a hit batter.

Ryan O’Hearn is in right field today and batting cleanup, with Anthony Santander serving as the designated hitter. Gunnar Henderson is the shortstop, moving up to second in the order behind catcher Adley Rutschman.

Ryan McKenna stays in center field against a right-hander, leaving Colton Cowser on the bench. Jordan Westburg also sits, with Adam Frazier at second base and Ramón Urías at third.

Former Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman is 8-5 with 3.10 ERA and 1.128 WHIP in 21 starts, with 171 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings. Gausman has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 11 of his last 14 games.

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Orioles counting on rotation spillage supplying bullpen with ample arms

DL Hall black jersey

The trade deadline shined a brighter light on the Orioles’ rotation. Jack Flaherty is in it. Very illuminating.

The five starters are confirmed: Flaherty, Kyle Gibson, Kyle Bradish, Dean Kremer and rookie Grayson Rodriguez. All of them right-handed with Cole Irvin staying in the bullpen.

But how long does the unit remain intact?

While addressing the buildup of bullpen innings that could empty the tanks of relievers like Félix Bautista and Yennier Cano, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias talked about injured guys getting healthy and how the rotation could factor into it.

“Bringing in an extra starter, you can always spill over into the bullpen to help with those innings, and I think we have several legitimate, accomplished major league starting pitchers, all of whom are having good years right now,” Elias said in his video call.

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Baker optioned to Triple-A Norfolk (plus Orioles lineup and notes - updated)

Bryan Baker looks down white

Jack Flaherty has joined the Orioles after yesterday’s trade with the Cardinals, and reliever Bryan Baker is optioned to Triple-A Norfolk as the corresponding move.

Flaherty is wearing No. 15.

Baker has registered a 3.64 ERA and 1.310 WHIP in 45 appearances, and he’s averaging 5.1 walks per nine innings. He spent the entire 2022 season with the Orioles and remained one of their high-leverage relievers this year, but he’s allowed 51.5 percent of inherited runners to score, the second-most among qualified relievers.

The Orioles are a season-high 25 games above .500 and trying tonight to secure their 21st series.

Last night’s 13-3 blowout win made them 7-1 against the Blue Jays season, assuring that they’d claim the season series, and 5-0 at Rogers Centre. Their division lead remains 1 ½ games over the Rays.

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More on the impact of Jack Flaherty trade and yesterday's deadline madness

Jack Flaherty Cards jersey

The conversations were ongoing yesterday until the final seconds of the trade deadline. The Orioles got their starter in Cardinals right-hander Jack Flaherty. They kept pushing to find another reliever.

They ran out of time but celebrated their modest haul.

Small in numbers, large in potential impact.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias could have reeled in a bigger fish if he were more generous with the bait, but he wasn’t going to plop prospects on the table who shouldn’t be touched.

Teams can keep asking. He can keep saying “no” and move onto the next one.

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Orioles acquire Flaherty from Cardinals (updated)


The Orioles found their starting pitcher less than 10 minutes before the trade deadline.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias acquired right-hander Jack Flaherty from the Cardinals in exchange for Triple-A left-hander Drew Rom and infielder César Prieto, and Single-A Delmarva pitcher Zack Showalter.

Flaherty, 27, is a pending free agent who’s 7-6 with a 4.43 ERA and 1.550 WHIP in 20 starts, with only 10 home runs surrendered in 109 2/3 innings. He registered a 3.30 ERA in five starts last month.

Elias made it a stated goal to find more pitching to strengthen the club’s bid for a deep run in the playoffs. Starters beyond Kyle Gibson are approaching or have bypassed their career highs in innings.

The decision to option Tyler Wells to Double-A Bowie, where he reported earlier today, increased the urgency.

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Orioles lineup in Toronto (Rinehart acquired from Mariners)

mountcastle homers in texas

Less than three hours before the trade deadline arrives, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has posted a lineup that includes Adley Rutschman in the leadoff spot again and Gunnar Henderson moving down to fifth against Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu.

Henderson is the designated hitter. Jordan Westburg is playing second base, Ramón Urías is the third baseman, and Jorge Mateo is the shortstop.

Ryan Mountcastle is batting second for only the second time this season.

Ryan McKenna is the center fielder tonight.

The Orioles are 65-41, including 17-9 in July, and 1 ½ games ahead of the Rays. They’ve won 16 of their last 22.

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More on Rutschman as Orioles' leadoff hitter (plus notes)

Adley Rutschman

The idea intrigued Orioles manager Brandon Hyde. He just needed to find the exact time to launch it.

Writing catcher Adley Rutschman’s name second in the lineup was steeped in logic. It made total sense. A hitter with tremendous bat control and skills, able to work a count and use every inch of the field, hitting behind the table setter.

The results were magnificent and predictable. Rutschman performed like a first-overall draft pick. The tools that drew the Orioles to him shined in the majors.

So, why mess with it?

Cedric Mullins is on the injured list again, leaving a hole atop the order. Gunnar Henderson was filling it against right-handed starters. Austin Hays was the choice against left-handers.

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Orioles lineup in Toronto (plus notes)

adley rutschman standing black

The Orioles begin a four-game series in Toronto tonight with Adley Rutschman settled in as the leadoff hitter and Gunnar Henderson behind him.

Rutschman has reached base six times in two games, including three singles and a walk last night.

Colton Cowser is in center field, flanked by Austin hays in left and Anthony Santander in right.

Ryan Mountcastle is the designated hitter. He’s a career .306/.368/.613 hitter with 15 home runs in 45 games against the Blue Jays.

Kyle Gibson is 9-6 with a 4.68 ERA and 1.323 WHIP in 22 games, and the one starter who isn’t an innings concern to the Orioles. He’s totaled 127 this season, with his career high 196 2/3 in 2018.

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