O's game blog: The second half begins at Texas

rutschman

With a one-game lead atop the American League East, the Orioles have played 96 games with 66 to go. They begin play after the All-Star break tonight at Texas to start a three-game series on the same field that hosted the All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

Last season at the break, the Orioles were 54-35 (.607) and two games out of first. Now they are 58-38 (.604) and leading the division by a game.

When last seen the O’s pulled out that crazy 6-5 win in the last of the ninth Sunday versus the Yankees. Had they not won that game they would have gone 0-6 on their homestand.

So even with that victory, one that gave them sole possession of first place in the American League East, they have lost five of six, six of eight and seven of the last 10 games.

Since June 21, the Orioles are 9-13 with a minus-45 run differential. In that span they have scored 3.8 runs per game with a team ERA of 5.69.

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O's take USC outfielder in round three of MLB Draft (updated)

2024 draft

The MLB Draft resumed this afternoon as the clubs will make selections in rounds three through 10 on the second of three days of drafting. The Orioles today added another college hitter to begin their day.

In round three: With pick No. 97 overall, the O's selected University of Southern California outfielder Austin Overn. A lefty hitter and righty thrower, he is 21 and just completed his second season at USC.

Over 59 games, he hit .270/.349/.461/.810 with 12 doubles, five triples, eight homers, 57 runs, 17 steals and 32 RBIs. He was honorable mention all-Pac 12.

Overn's best tool, per MLB.com is a 75 grade run tool. The site ranks him as its No. 131 prospect.

On the streaming of the draft today, analyst Jonathan Mayo said, "he might be the fastest guy in the draft class. Not a lot of power. We are talking speed from the left side. Maybe the best defensive outfielder in the entire class."

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O's game blog: Looking to even the series against New York

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Can a team struggling to score runs get them today against a pitcher they hit hard less than a month ago?

We're going to find out as the Orioles again face Yankees right-hander Luis Gil (9-5, 3.27 ERA), who is making his 19th start of the season.

When Gil faced the Orioles May 1, he pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings on just two hits. But the rematch June 20 at New York was very different. The righty entered that game with a 2.03 ERA.

He allowed eight hits and seven runs - both season highs - in just 1 1/3 innings as the Orioles won 17-5 to take that series.

They scored in the first inning that night on Ryan O'Hearn's single to lead 1-0 and knocked Gil out by scoring six runs in the second inning. An inning that featured Cedric Mullins' two-run homer and Ryan Mountcastle's bases-clearing, three-run double.

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More draft talk with Matt Blood, a note on today's Futures Game and a take on last night

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It is not an exaggeration to say the Orioles have done very well in the MLB Draft. They have high picks near the top of the board they like, players like Adley Rutschman, Heston Kjerstad and Colton Cowser, and some that came a bit later that are now All-Stars, like Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg.

They have the No. 1 farm system in baseball, and that farm is a big reason they lead the American League East.

But as another draft is set to begin tomorrow night, the Orioles are confident, but not cocky, that they will do well again.

“I think we have some humility. We can’t just turn anything into gold. That is just not the reality,” the O’s vice president of player development and domestic scouting, Matt Blood, said Friday at Oriole Park in a predraft update with local media. “I think that good scouting makes good player development and good player development helps make good scouting. I like to think that our two departments are very in sync and aligned. I would really hope so now, since I am overseeing them both.

“But it is something we take a lot of pride in, is our efficiency of development. We are going to look for players we feel like we can help and players that, if they come to our system, they will have an even better chance to be major league contributors.”

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O's are shut out at Camden Yards as Cubs win to take the series

After scoring 14 runs in the last two games of the series at Oakland over the weekend, it looked like the Orioles offense was starting to roll again. But tonight, early on, it didn’t look that way as they faced Chicago Cubs lefty Shota Imanaga in the second game of the series. 

Coming into this game the O’s had scored three runs or fewer five times in the last eight games, those two wins at Oakland standing out as good days in this run.

And their early struggles on offense carried through the night as the Cubs beat the Orioles 4-0 in front of 20,694 at Oriole Park. For the game, the Orioles went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

The O’s have lost three of four and four of their past six games as they fall to 29-19 at home and to 57-35 for the season.

They are now 12-13 versus National League teams. Their season win percentage is now .620 and they remain, narrowly, on a pace to win 100 games, projecting for 100.4 wins at that percentage over the full year.

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O's game blog: Corbin Burnes looks for win No. 10 against the Cubs

With a team ERA of 5.78 the last 17 games, and having allowed 19 runs Saturday and nine last night, the Orioles could use a well pitched game tonight in the second of their series with the Chicago Cubs.

Enter right-hander Corbin Burnes (9-3, 2.32 ERA), who is looking to become a 10-game winner in his 19th start of 2024. Burnes was selected to pitch in the All-Star Game and could even be chosen to start for the American League.

He has strong credentials for that. He ranks second in the league in ERA (led by Kansas City's Seth Lugo at 2.21). He is third with 14 quality starts, one off the league lead, and is tied for fifth in opponents OPS at .590. He ranks seventh in both batting average against (.215) and WHIP (1.021).

The Orioles are 12-6 in his outings and Burnes is 5-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 1.121 WHIP in 10 home starts, in which the Orioles are 7-3.

Since April 26, Burnes has made 12 quality starts in a 13-start span, going 6-3 with a 2.16 ERA. He has allowed a .592 OPS in this stretch. 

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Pregame notes on Tuesday's attendance, Coby Mayo's defense (plus O's lineup)

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde gave some props to the fans today. The Orioles-Cubs game last night, the series opener that Chicago won 9-2, saw an attendance of 30,373.

According to the Baltimore Sun, that was the largest Tuesday night crowd at Oriole Park since the Orioles and Mets drew 34,068 on Aug. 18, 2015.

“You know, I remember it when we had some 8,000 nights," said Hyde. "So, to have 30,000, wish we would have played better. To have people support us, the fans and the area support us the way they are, it’s a noticeable difference.

“You just feel more of a buzz. More of a buzz in the crowd and you are not hearing individual conversations above your dugout. It’s more of a big baseball feel. You hear the roar of the crowd instead of individual sections.”

At this point there are four Orioles headed to the All-Star Game in Texas: starters Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman, along with pitcher Corbin Burnes and infielder Jordan Westburg.

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Orioles hire Catie Griggs as first female president of business operations

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The Orioles today announced that Catie Griggs will serve as the first female president of business operations in team history. She begins with the club on Aug. 19.

On Friday, Griggs resigned her position as president of business operations for the Seattle Mariners. The North Carolina native cited a desire to be closer to family on the East Coast. Griggs arrived in Seattle in July 2021 after four seasons as the chief business officer for Atlanta United in Major League Soccer. She oversaw all aspects of the Mariners organization outside of baseball operations.

“Catie’s track record of success, diverse business experience, and commitment to excellence made her the perfect fit to lead the next chapter of our business operation in Baltimore,” said Orioles owner and control person David M. Rubenstein. "The entire Orioles organization welcomes Catie as we continue to elevate every aspect of our operation.”

Griggs managed all aspects of the Mariners' business operations, including investments to improve technology, operations and fan experience at T-Mobile Park. In addition, she led the way as T-Mobile Park became the first venue to host both Major League Baseball's All-Star Week (2023) and the National Hockey League Winter Classic (2024) within a calendar year. Combined, the two events generated more than $80 million in revenue for the city of Seattle and directly engaged more than 300,000 fans. 

Before joining the Mariners, Griggs spent the previous four years (2017-2021) helping build Atlanta United into one of the premier MLS franchises. She was chief business officer, overseeing all aspects of the Atlanta United front office. Prior to Atlanta United, Griggs was with Futures Sport & Entertainment, as well as Turner Broadcasting.

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O's game blog: The chance for a series win at Oakland

povich 1st win

With Friday's 3-2 win at Oakland, the Orioles improved to 3-1 on their West Coast road trip, winning another well pitched game. Right-hander Albert Suárez and three relievers teamed on a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts.

The O's wins on the trip have come via 2-0, 4-1 and 3-2 scores, so three wins allowing just three runs.

The Orioles (56-32) begin play Saturday leading the American League East by three games over the Yankees, who have gone 4-14 their past 18 games with a loss Friday to Boston.

O's starting pitchers on this trip - Grayson Rodriguez, Dean Kremer, Corbin Burnes and Suárez - have allowed four runs and 12 hits and eight walks over 23 1/3 innings while striking out 28. The rotation ERA is 1.54 in this span.

O's starting pitchers have allowed two earned runs or fewer eight times over their past nine games, posting a 2.42 ERA in this stretch.

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O's game blog: Looking for another win at Seattle

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The Orioles' six-game road trip continues tonight as the Orioles (54-31) play at Seattle (47-40) in a matchup of American League division leaders. If the O's get another win there, they will have a series victory. 

Right-hander Grayson Rodriguez and three relievers teamed on a two-hit shutout as the Orioles won 2-0 in last night's series opener. Rodriguez went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and four walks while recording eight strikeouts. He threw 104 pitches, three off his season high, and improved to 10-3 with a 3.45 ERA.

In two starts this year versus Seattle he has thrown 12 1/3 scoreless, allowing just three hits for an .079 average against with seven walks to 15 strikeouts.

Rodriguez produced his eighth quality start of the season and the Orioles are 11-4 in his 15 starts.

He is the third O's pitcher 24 or younger to have 10 wins in his first 15 starts of a season:

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The work to develop a young pitcher: Jackson Baumeister excelling at Aberdeen

Jackson Baumeister Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, Md. - In the last two MLB Drafts, the Orioles have made 40 combined selections and 25 of them have been pitchers. But none were taken higher up the board than last year’s selection of Florida State right-hander Jackson Baumeister with the No. 63 overall pick.

He is the highest drafted pitcher taken by O's executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias since his initial O's draft in 2019.

Baumeister, 21, was selected with a Competitive Balance Round B pick, selections that were made just ahead of the third round of the draft.

After two seasons on the Seminoles staff, the Orioles took Baumeister as a draft-eligible sophomore. He did not pitch after that 2023 draft. but he has made his pro debut this year at High-A Aberdeen and is having a solid first season.

Ranked as the Orioles' No. 11 prospect by Baseball America and No. 18 via MLBPipeline.com, he is 1-2 with a 2.60 ERA. In 14 games over 55 1/3 innings he has allowed 37 hits and no homers with 35 walks and 65 strikeouts. He has a .192 average against and 1.30 WHIP for the IronBirds.

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O's game blog: Looking for another win in series with Texas

Cade Povich

In their first series against each other since Texas swept the Orioles last October in the American League Division Series, the Orioles have beaten Texas 11-2 and 2-1 the last two nights to begin this four-game series.

After losing five in a row to Houston and Cleveland, the Orioles (52-30) have won their past three games.

During the five losses, Baltimore pitching allowed 40 runs with a team ERA of 7.71 and OPS against of .936 in those games. The team ERA increased from 3.13 to 3.40 for the year.

During the past three wins, Baltimore pitchers have allowed five total runs with a team ERA of 1.67 and a .582 OPS. The team ERA is down to 3.34. That ERA ranks first in the American League and is third-best in the majors behind Philadelphia (3.04) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (3.27).

The O's three-game win streak has come by a combined 17-5 score. The Orioles are now 8-11 in one-run games and, after last night, 3-15 when they score two runs or fewer. They are 28-16 at home and 16-11 in June.

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Looking at Urías' good defense, June coming to a close and Cowser's power

cowser goes yard @ BOS

The Texas Rangers were trying to come from two runs down and the wildness of the O’s bullpen gave them a great chance. They had cut the O's 2-0 lead to 2-1 in the seventh inning and a key batter, leadoff hitter Marcus Semien, batted with the bases loaded and two outs.

O’s righty Jacob Webb threw him a 2-2 fastball and he hit it hard toward third base. Ramón Urías, the 2022 American League Gold Glove winner at third base, made a nice play to his backhand side and thew out Semien. The ball was hit 96.5 mph off the bat and Statcast gave it an expected batting average of .530.

But the Rangers were turned away.

In a game the Orioles would go on to win 2-1, it was a solid defensive play. And a key one. Actual batting average on the play was .000.

“Yeah. Big play right there,” Urías said in the postgame clubhouse. “Just tried to stay calm. Know the situation and know your runner and I think the main thing is just stay calm.”

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Henderson has added another element to his game this year: base-stealing ability

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The Orioles' Gunnar Henderson has always been able to impact a game with five tools, and the speed element of that is on greater display during the 2024 season.

He might have to pick up the pace a bit in the stolen-base department, but Henderson has a chance to become the second Oriole - Cedric Mullins did it in 2021 - to hit 30 or more homers and steal at least 30 bases in one season.

Henderson is running more this year, is very comfortable swiping bags and now has a manager willing to give him a green light to go more than ever.

He began last night second in the AL in homers (26), slugging (.618) and OPS (1.005), but also tied for 13th in the league with 13 steals. He is 13-for-14 this year after stealing 10 bases in 13 attempts all of last year.

Has he just made a concerted effort to run more this year?

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O's game blog: The series opener with the Texas Rangers

burnes @ WAS

They ended the Orioles 2023 season in the American League Division Series with a three-game sweep. Tonight the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers come to Camden Yards to start a four-game set. The stakes are very different in a regular season game after Texas posted wins by 3-2, 11-8 and 7-1 over the Orioles to advance last October.

The teams are having very different seasons as well. The Orioles (50-30) will reach the season's halfway point tonight and are just one game behind the first-place Yankees in the American League East.

The Rangers, who also beat Tampa Bay before last year's AL Division Series and Houston and Arizona after it on their way to the title, are only 37-43 at the 80-game mark. They are in third in the AL West and 7 1/2 games behind division-leading Seattle.

Texas was just swept three straight at Milwaukee by 6-3, 3-1 and 6-5 scores. The Rangers have also lost eight of their past 12 games and are just 8-13 since June 3. The Rangers were 21-16 on May 7, but have gone 16-27 since that point.

The Rangers have also lost six in a row on the road, are 5-16 their past 21 road games and are just 4-10 their past 14 series, home and road.

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O's game blog: O's look to end losing streak and Cleveland's win streak in Game 2

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The Orioles have lost four in a row and been outscored 30-15 during the season's longest losing streak. Cleveland has won six in a row and outscored their opponents 36-14 during their win streak.

After losing their homestand opener 3-2 to Cleveland last night, the O's could use a win tonight, which would end both streaks.

Cleveland's win streak is not even its longest of this year. The Guardians won nine in a row from May 17-26.

At 50-26 (.658), Cleveland has the best win percentage in the American League and leads second-place Minnesota by a season-high eight games in the American League Central. Their record is second-best in the majors to Philadelphia at 52-26 (.667).

The Guardians are 11-6 this year against AL East teams, going 1-2 versus New York, 5-2 against Boston, 4-2 versus Toronto and 1-0 against Baltimore. 

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Albert Suárez struggles as Houston wins to complete the sweep (updated)

albert suarez

HOUSTON – A recent run of strong starts during an overall good season for right-hander Albert Suárez hit a speed bump in New York a few days ago. Today in Houston, it was quite a bumpy ride again for the hurler who took an ERA of 1.61 into that start at Yankee Stadium.

He allowed three runs and walked five in 3 2/3 innings in the Bronx. He was much more around the plate today, maybe in the zone too much early on as the Astros came out swinging against him.

Houston scored four runs on six hits in the last of the first this afternoon and rode that big inning to a 8-1 win behind 15 hits and a solid outing by left-hander Framber Valdez as they sweep this three-game series.

The O’s hit town riding high, coming off Thursday’s 17-5 victory and series win at Yankee Stadium. They had gone 14-6 the previous 20 games with series wins over the Rays, Braves, Phillies and Yankees but didn’t win once this weekend at Minute Maid Park.

At 49-28, they are swept for the second time this year (also May 20-22 at St. Louis) and head home to host Cleveland on Monday night.

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O's game blog: Birds try to avoid being swept in Houston series finale

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HOUSTON - After their series win at Yankee Stadium produced such good vides, the game of baseball struck back at the Orioles this weekend in Houston. They were 11 runs behind on Friday night and held to one run and four hits Saturday as they lost by 14-11 and 5-1 scores.

The Orioles (49-27) were not swept for 106 consecutive regular-season series, a run that ended when they were swept last month at St. Louis. A loss today and they will have been swept twice in the past 10 series.

Between the two series they played very good baseball, going 4-0 in Chicago against the White Sox, 2-1 in each of two home series versus Boston and Tampa Bay, and then 2-2 in Toronto and 4-0 at Tampa Bay. The club then went 2-1 against Atlanta and Philadelphia and in New York against the Yankees.

They went 7-0-1 in eight series since St. Louis but need a win today to avoid their second 0-3 series of the year.

The Orioles had scored 28 runs in two games, 35 in three and 51 in their past six until they were shut down by righty Ronel Blanco and two relievers on Saturday.

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O's Cody Asche on facing Valdez, Rutschman batting leadoff and more

Adley Rutschman

HOUSTON – As the Orioles look to salvage one game in their three-game series at Houston and avoid being swept today, they face a tough lefty in Houston’s Framber Valdez (5-5, 3.91 ERA).

He finished 11th for the American League Cy Young Award in 2020, was fifth in 2022 and ninth last year.

In these past two years he has gone 29-17 with a 3.13 ERA over 399 1/3 innings. But in those two years, as he has had high Cy Young vote finishes, he faced the Orioles once each season and they fared well against him. In the two games, they scored 13 runs off Valdez (10 earned) in a combined 12 1/3 innings.

In an interview with local media today, O’s offensive strategy coach Cody Asche talked about the challenge of facing Valdez today and how the O’s batters might approach it.

“I think a lot of our guys will kind of lean on their experiences last year," he said. " I thought we had really good at-bats last year at Camden. And I think even two years ago, we kind of ended that quality-starts streak against him.

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After bump in the road at New York, Albert Suárez back on mound today

albert suarez

HOUSTON – When Orioles right-hander Albert Suárez took the mound to face the New York Yankees on Tuesday night, he was a pitcher on a real roll.

He was 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA and had an ERA of 1.08 over his previous nine games. He had been big for the Orioles, both out of the bullpen and in the rotation.

But that night in the Bronx was not his normal day.

He walked five Yankees and gave up three runs over 3 2/3 innings as the Orioles lost the series opener. It was his shortest start of the season and a season high in walks.

As he got ready to make his next start, which comes today at Houston, Suárez felt what went wrong in that game in New York can be a quick fix.

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