César Prieto moves to Double-A, plus several O's notes

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When the Orioles made a series of minor league promotions on Monday, one was certainly no big surprise. Cuban-born infielder César Prieto, signed as part of the latest O’s international class in January, moved up from high Single-A Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie.

There he will join a talented infield that already includes ranked prospects in Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg and Joey Ortiz. But the Orioles feel Prieto deserved to move up and certainly can co-exist on that roster where the first three players mentioned all have starts at multiple infield spots.

Henderson: 22 at third, 13 at short.
Westburg: 12 at second, 12 at third, 11 at short.
Ortiz: 17 at second, 13 at short, two at third.

Prieto, 23, hit .340/.381/.619/ with an OPS of 1.000 in 25 games with Aberdeen. He returned back to their active roster on May 11 after missing about 10 days with a right hamstring strain. As of Monday, Prieto led the O’s farm in batting average, slugging and OPS. He has six doubles, seven homers and 20 RBIs.

It's been a torrid hitting start for a player that some felt could move fast through the system because of his previous experience in the Cuban professional leagues.

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O's game blog: Orioles look to salvage series finale at the Yard

Bruce Zimmermann clap white

When the Orioles hosted the Yankees in mid-April they won two of three in the series, allowing six total runs. But first-place New York is playing much better ball this series in Baltimore. With a win this afternoon, the Yankees would complete a four-game sweep of the Orioles.

New York won 6-2 Monday night and has now posted two straight one-run wins, by 5-4 and 3-2 scores.

The Orioles (14-24) have lost six in a row and seven of their past eight games. They fell behind 3-0 in the first inning last night and are 4-20 when their opponent scores first. The Yankees (28-9) are now 19-2 when they score first in the game.

The Orioles are 2-7 and have lost six in a row to the Yankees since that first series at Camden Yards. They are now 9-10 at home, 5-7 in one-run games and 4-11 versus the AL East.

The O’s offense has produced just eight runs on 19 hits in this series. Baltimore batters have scored two runs or less six times in the past eight games. In those eight games, they have scored 15 runs total and have gone 4-for-40 with runners in scoring position.

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After tough weekend, O's gear up for challenging few weeks

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Captain Obvious has been busy this season, giving me a steady stream of calls and notes. The latest was to remind me that the Orioles may be an improved team but are not yet at the point they can be missing several key players and still consistently win.

The Captain is right again.

The Orioles were without Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays in Detroit and Jorge Mateo left yesterday’s game in the fourth inning. They lost 5-1 and scored just three runs over the weekend. They scored in just two of 27 innings. That will not cut it.

The offense with Hays and Mountcastle was trending up, scoring 33 runs over a six-game stretch. But they have followed that by scoring seven runs over the past five games.

The Captain said that means the offense has been inconsistent.

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Late rally Sunday provides momentum for road trip

Robinson Chirinos hugs Rougned Odor white

OAKLAND – The Orioles will play in Oakland tonight to start a 10-game road trip that will take them to both coasts and produce series against the Athletics, Angels and Yankees. It will be challenging, but at least they start it on a high note after Sunday’s 5-0 shutout win over the Yankees in Baltimore.

If you were among the large number of fans wondering how much longer they could go without getting clutch hits, the answer was seven more innings as Sunday’s game began. But after going 3-for-30 in the three games before yesterday with runners in scoring position and 7-for-77 for the year through eight games, they finally came through.

And it was the oft-criticized Rougned Odor whose two-run single opened the floodgates, so to speak, and the Orioles got three straight hits with RISP after being 7-for-83 for the year as Odor stood in to pinch-hit in the eighth of a 0-0 tie.

The Orioles beat the Yankees in the series, also winning in 11 innings Friday night. Who knows what might have happened this weekend at the Yard without the hail on Saturday night, which altered the O’s pitching plans.

Speaking of pitching, since Friday, when we pretty much found out lefty John Means would be out for a significant period of time, O’s starters have allowed one earned run. So far – yes, in the smallest of samples – they stepped up.

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Scherzer carves up Yankees, but Nationals fall in 11th (updated)

Scherzer carves up Yankees, but Nationals fall in 11th (updated)
Snarling, grunting Max Scherzer will stomp around the mound like a predator stalking his prey. But his alter ego - masterful, riveted Max Scherzer, who carves up an opposing lineup - can be just as intimidating and effective. The Yankees saw a little of both versions on Saturday in a 4-3 victory over the Nationals, punctuated by a season-high 14 strikeouts by Scherzer plus a couple of notable achievements in the record books by the ace, who was long gone by the time an infield hit scored the...
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Soto's return to right field lengthens Nationals lineup

Soto's return to right field lengthens Nationals lineup
Somewhere between Yankee Stadium's unique configuration and Juan Soto's eagerness to return to the outfield, Nationals manager Davey Martinez thinks he's seen enough progress from Soto's strained left shoulder to put the slugger back in right field for today's matinee against the Yankees. Soto, who served as the designated hitter Friday night and contributed a two-run homer in the ninth inning of the Nats' 6-2 victory, passed the final hurdle before Friday's game by showing he could...
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Bullpens could decide Yankees-Rays clash in ALDS

Bullpens could decide Yankees-Rays clash in ALDS
The Tampa Bay Rays, who last won the American League East in 2010, beat the New York Yankees in eight of 10 games during the regular season. Can they do it again and get a chance to win their first AL pennant since losing to the Phillies in the 2008 World Series? The best-of-five Yankees-Rays AL Division Series will be played with no days off starting today in San Diego's Petco Park, one of the bubbles established by Major League Baseball for the postseason. The Rays and Yankees have tension,...
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MLB faces new coronavirus crisis early on in abbreviated schedule

MLB faces new coronavirus crisis early on in abbreviated schedule
Less than a week into the season, baseball is dealing with a coronavirus outbreak, leaving the most important question unanswered: What is the line of demarcation for calling off the 2020 season? That decision is a subjective one. The agreement between owners and players to start this season amid a pandemic gives that decision to Commissioner Rob Manfred. If at any time he thinks travel is too dangerous and the schedule takes an integrity hit, then Manfred can end the season. And after at least...
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Corbin was on target for first start of 2020

Corbin was on target for first start of 2020
Patrick Corbin did almost everything right in his Sunday start against the Yankees. His slider was working to perfection, his fastball was locating well and his sinker was difficult to touch. Corbin was pitching so well that he did not allow New York a baserunner until the fourth inning. The first batted ball to leave the infield was a Gleyber Torres single with two outs in the fourth. Three innings later, Torres ended Corbin's shutout bid with a solo homer. Corbin was pulled after that home,...
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Corbin starts smooth, Turner notches first HR (Nats fall 3-2)

Corbin starts smooth, Turner notches first HR (Nats fall 3-2)
Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin came out of the blocks mesmerizing with his fastball and patented slider in the final game of the opening series against the Yankees Sunday afternoon at Nats Park. Through the first three innings, Corbin struck out five batters, and the other four hitters all grounded out to third base or shortstop. Yankees bullpen starter Jonathan Loaisiga had also been outstanding, featuring a fastball in the 97-99 mph range and a knee-buckling curveball at 84 mph. That...
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Robles' all-around game helps lift Nats to first win of season

Robles' all-around game helps lift Nats to first win of season
One of the players many hoped would step up offensively for the Nationals in 2020 did just that in game two of this abbreviated campaign. Victor Robles is one of the Nats many hoped could pick up the offensive slack left when Anthony Rendon signed with the Angels. Saturday night he showed that promise, going 3-for-4 with a double, a two-run homer and four RBIs in the Nats' 9-2 win over the Yankees. It was the defending champions first win of 2020. "Tremendous," said manager Davey Martinez on...
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Fedde starts quickly, so does offense (Nats win 9-2)

Fedde starts quickly, so does offense (Nats win 9-2)
The Nationals were the ones that came up with the early offense against the Yankees Saturday night. Starlin Castro drilled an opposite-field two-out triple off of left-hander James Paxton in the first inning, but Howie Kendrick flew out to center field to end the threat. But in the second inning, the Nats reeled off four consecutive hits to send Paxton to the showers. Asdrúbal Cabrera, Kurt Suzuki and Carter Kieboom started the inning with back-to-back-to-back singles. Kieboom fought back...
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Nats on kneeling with black ribbon as symbol of unity prior to national anthem

Nats on kneeling with black ribbon as symbol of unity prior to national anthem
Nationals players and coaching staff knelt down prior to the national anthem on opening night alongside the Yankees, holding a black ribbon that extended from the left field foul pole around home plate all the way out to the right field foul pole at Nationals Park. The moment was planned and agreed upon by all involved to be a unifying show of support for Black Lives Matter, and to raise awareness of the issues of police brutality and injustice toward Black people that has been rampant in the...
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Scherzer blames fastball location problems early in 4-1 loss

Scherzer blames fastball location problems early in 4-1 loss
Max Scherzer wanted to get off to a good start on opening night, but it just didn't happen. Against a strong Yankees lineup, Scherzer did his best to avoid trouble, but when you have to face the likes of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton multiple times in a game, trouble can find you. Scherzer allowed a two-run homer and a run-scoring single to Stanton, and Judge delivered a single and an RBI double as the Yankees took down the Nationals 4-1 in rain-shortened five innings to finally jumpstart...
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Yankees up early on Scherzer (Nats fall 4-1 in five innings)

Yankees up early on Scherzer (Nats fall 4-1 in five innings)
The Nationals celebrated their first world championship with a flag raising in the center field plaza and a hoisting of the 2019 World Series pennant above the video board in right field before tonight's Major League Baseball opener against the Yankees at Nationals Park. One can only imagine how loud Nats Park would have been in any other season opener with 43,000 fans on their feet to share in the accomplishment. But this is 2020, and with the world in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic,...
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Hope and uncertainty color start of 2020 season

Hope and uncertainty color start of 2020 season
The Major League Baseball season starts Thursday night with the first two games in Washington and Los Angeles. By far, the 60-game schedule is not only the shortest in history, it's also the most unusual, framed by a killer pandemic, labor strife, social-justice issues and questions about whether the season would - or should - be launched at all. The season was supposed to start March 26, but spring training camps in Arizona and Florida were shut down March 12 because of a spiking coronavirus...
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Banks worked on his approach in Arizona, now preps for 2020

Banks worked on his approach in Arizona, now preps for 2020
In part one of our visit with Nick Banks, an outfielder in the Nationals system, we spoke about his experience in the Arizona Fall League. A valuable part of that experience is meshing with and learning from new coaches. In part two, we look into what Ken Joyce, a hitting coach from the New York Yankees organization, was able to do to help Banks with his swing and his approach at the plate. "I loved him. He really did help me a lot this offseason and in the fall league," Banks said. "Just...
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Some key points entering regular season's final week of play

Some key points entering regular season's final week of play
Baseball's final week of the regular season has arrived. Here's what we know: The Brewers haven't missed National League MVP candidate Christian Yelich: The Brewers are 10-2 since Yelich was sidelined with a knee injury. They are 17-4 during September, a repeat performance of last season when they won 20 games in the final month to make the postseason. The Brewers, who have the tiebreaker to get home field in case of a wild card tie with Washington, have scored 32 runs in their last four...
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Red Sox the favorites in the American League East

Red Sox the favorites in the American League East
After going 11-3 in the postseason en route to winning the 2018 World Series, the Red Sox are taking aim at becoming the first repeat World Series winner since the Yankees won their third consecutive in 2000. History says the Red Sox have an uphill climb. Since 2000, only the 2001 Yankees and 2009 Phillies returned to the World Series after winning it the previous season. Nine of the World Series champions didn't make the postseason. The Yankees and Red Sox are the favorites in the American...
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Exhibition game lineups: Nats vs. Yankees

Exhibition game lineups: Nats vs. Yankees
The Nationals take on the New York Yankees in their final tune-up exhibition before the season begins Thursday at Nats Park against the New York Mets. Weather permitting, right-hander Aníbal Sánchez (0-1, 4.50 ERA) will start for the Nationals against Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. (0-1, 3.29). It is all regulars in the lineup except for Kurt Suzuki starting instead of Yan Gomes at catcher. Matt Adams will be the designated hitter. Manager Davey Martinez had said during spring...
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