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Matthew Taylor: Tracing the battle to before there were Beltways

The Orioles and Nationals wrapped up the 2013 edition of the Battle of the Beltways on Thursday night with the O’s winning their third game of the four-game, split-stadium series. The series got me to thinking about the early days of this match-up and how much I’d forgotten since these two teams starting playing each other again. And then there’s the stuff I never knew

Anthony Amobi: Is Chris Davis for real?

At this point in my life, as a sports fan, I’m not often surprised by much. So far this season, Chris Davis has me wondering if what I am seeing from him is for real, based on his track record. I was not sure if he could replicate what he did last season, especially toward the end, coming into 2013. However, he is exceeding that

Neal Shaffer: J. Johnson’s struggles illustrate why baseball should rethink closer role

Timely piece of work on Tuesday from SI’s Tom Verducci about struggling closers around MLB, with our own Jim Johnson starring as co-Exhibit A with Fernando Rodney of the Rays. It’s worth a read, but here’s the salient point: It’s not a surprise that Johnson, 29, and Rodney, 36, are struggling, especially given their age and workload last season. The surprise would have been if

Zach Wilt: What makes a rivalry?

The purists tell me that interleague play doesn’t belong in baseball. If they’re fans of the National League, they despise the use of the designated hitter, and if they root for a team in the American League, vise versa. Personally, I’ve never understood the disdain on either side. In fact, interleague rivalry week is one of my favorite parts of the long baseball season. What

Domenic Vadala: Some thoughts on the Battle of the Beltways

First off, I want to offer my thanks to our nation’s veterans who we celebrate today on this Memorial Day. I hope that all Americans remember that we should keep the heroism of our nation’s service members in mind on all days, not only today. My late grandfather, Dr. Anthony Launi, was a World War II veteran, and later a catcher in the Washington Senators’

Matthew Taylor: Ballpark franks aren’t the answer in Toronto

I can’t watch the Orioles play in Toronto without thinking of my trips to see games there in its pre-2005 SkyDome days. Both of those visits were memorable in their own right - I’m sure I’m not the only one who has neglected to convert kilometers to miles upon first driving into Canada. However, it was the latter adventure some nine years ago that nearly

Anthony Amobi: Gausman to the rescue?

Tonight will be quite an event for the Orioles and their fans as Kevin Gausman - one of the organization’s top pitching prospects - takes the mound against the Toronto Blue Jays. The fans have wanted him called up for a while, and they have gotten their wish. As of early last week, executive vice president Dan Duquette noted to the media that Gausman would

Neal Shaffer: Was O’s frustrating skid a necessary evil?

Now that it’s over, thanks to Nate McLouth and his walk-off 10th-inning heroics, I feel comfortable stating the less-than-obvious: Thank goodness for that six-game losing streak. Perhaps that sounds odd at best, a little stupid at worst. It should. But dig a little deeper with me and I think you’ll see what I mean. It was just a week ago in this space that I

Help the Orioles and Baltimore youth win with a simple #whiff

Over the course of this young season, the Orioles have recorded 303 strikeouts. While that number is not near league-leading, it has allowed fans the chance to give support to the Baltimore chapter of the RBI League 303 times. Whenever the O’s record a strikeout, you have the power to rally round Baltimore’s RBI League. Every time the Birds record a K, you can tweet

Zach Wilt: Breaking down Jim Johnson’s struggles

Last season, Jim Johnson blew three saves in 54 chances, while this year, he’s blown three consecutive opportunities. The Orioles closer is scuffling and the team is stuck in a season-worst six-game losing streak. Johnson has allowed eight earned runs in his last three appearances and has watched his ERA jump from 0.95 to 4.22. Arguably one of the best at his craft a season

Orange, black and cartoon birds reign in ESPN’s “Battle of the Uniforms”

Don’t underestimate the black and orange. More than 147,000 votes were cast in the final round of ESPN’s “Battle of the Uniforms.” Facing the No. 1 seeded Cardinals, the Orioles emerged as champions after fans voted for the cartoon bird over the Redbirds by a final percentage of 59 to 41. But it didn’t start there. The Orioles entered the competition as a No. 13

Domenic Vadala: Do the Orioles need to trade for a top starting pitcher?

Orioles pitching has been the elephant in the room all season long, and to a certain degree, it came to a bit of a head last week and this weekend. First off, while starters going deep into games has been an issue all season, I’m also a firm believer in not letting one bad start get you down. While Jason Hammel has struggled through his

Birds battling St. Louis for title of best uniforms in baseball

Duking it out against the Cardinals, the Orioles are looking for their fans to rally behind them and support their push to the top. But this is not a battle of who’s best on the diamond. Rather, it’s a debate of who looks best on the field in ESPN’s “Battle of the Uniforms.” Mimicking their wearers’ 2012 season, the Orioles’ uniforms have played the role

Matthew Taylor: Some context on Johnson’s consecutive saves record

Jim Johnson’s consecutive saves streak ended at 35 games Tuesday night in a 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres. Johnson’s streak was one better than Randy Myers’ previous Orioles record of 34 and one worse than Mariano Rivera’s personal best of 36. Eric Gagne is in a world all his own with his major league record of 84 consecutive saves for the Los Angeles

Neal Shaffer: Embracing a dilemma at the season’s quarter-pole

The 40-game mark, the quarter pole, has traditionally been one of the first real mile markers of the baseball season. It’s the point at which we can no longer say, “Yeah, but it’s early.” By 40 games in, there’s a sense of things. A lot will still happen, but the season is no longer a series of maybes. As the Orioles close in on that

Zach Wilt: Has Pedro Strop bounced back?

Coming off a stellar performance in the World Baseball Classic, the Orioles seemed very optimistic about Pedro Strop heading into the 2013 season. Buck Showalter leaned heavily on him through much of 2012, until Strop struggled with pitch location in September and into the postseason. In Strop’s final 11 regular season outings, he surrendered six earned runs over 7 1/3 innings pitched, issued eight walks

Domenic Vadala: Anatomy of a comeback

We all saw what happened Friday night, as the Orioles came back and defeated the Minnesota Twins after being down 6-0. Six runs isn’t the greatest comeback of all time, however there’s certainly a difference between that and being down by one or two. I think that in all sports there comes a point in a game where a team feels somewhat secure in its

Matthew Taylor: Enjoying the ride

The Orioles enter the weekend with a 21-14 record, in a three-way tie for first place in the American League East with the Red Sox and Yankees. If you’ve followed baseball long enough, you’ve likely developed the reserved reflex that is so common to the sport. It’s the one that produces programmed responses to good news, led by the many variations of “it’s early.” We’re

Anthony Amobi: O’s took a chance and gamble with Machado has paid off

In August 2012, the Orioles were in the wild card hunt and desperate to solve a problem - third base. Former Oriole Mark Reynolds, despite his power, was struggling at the hot corner, and executive vice president Dan Duquette, the front office, along with manager Buck Showalter were looking for a solution. In the middle of that month, the Orioles did something bold and head-scratching

Zach Wilt: A full season of Manny Machado

Seven wins on an 11-game west coast road trip are enough to turn even the Orioles’ fiercest doubter into a believer in 2013. For the first time this season, I stopped comparing this year’s team to its surprising playoff roster from a year ago and instead just enjoyed watching the O’s starters pitch a 3.76 ERA, the bullpen to a 3.60 mark and cheered as

Domenic Vadala: Serving up the youth movement

I’ll be as frank and up front as I possibly can in saying this: I’m not a big fan of youth. At 32, some people might ask what I mean by that, given that I’d like to hope that I’m not that old myself. However, when it comes to athletes, I like guys with a bit of experience. I’m not suggesting that the Orioles should

Matthew Taylor: Tillman continuing pitching staff’s success on west coast

Chris Tillman provided the Orioles bullpen with some much-needed rest Thursday night by pitching eight shutout innings against the Angels. In the process, Tillman became only the second Orioles starter to go more than seven innings in 2013, which has left the team’s relievers to carry a heavy early-season load. Coming into the game, the O’s bullpen had pitched a shade more than 42 innings

Anthony Amobi: McLouth playing a major role in Orioles’ strong start

If there’s one theme that we as fans have seen with the Baltimore Orioles since last season, it is this: manager Buck Showalter will find a way for everyone on his team to contribute. It seems that there is a different player contributing on a daily basis for the Orioles to attain another postseason berth; however, so far, in the first month of the 2013

Neal Shaffer: Bundy’s issue demonstrates O’s depth has improved

Let’s get this much out of the way early: Dylan Bundy is probably going to need surgery. Maybe not right now. It’s possible that the current injury is a minor one and that the platelet-rich plasma injection will do the trick. Given his legendary dedication to fitness, he might not even miss much time. But let’s be realistic. Tommy John surgery is an increasingly common

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