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Tides Split Rain-Shortened Series with Rochester

Orioles pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis on the mound.

LAST SERIES RECAP

The Tides entered the series against the Rochester Red Wings stuck in a four-game losing streak and fresh off of a sweep at the hands of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Norfolk scored only six runs in the three games against Pawtucket, though the bullpen posted a 1.98 ERA over 13.2 innings pitched. The Orioles promoted one of their top prospects, outfielder Cedric Mullins, to the Tides from Double-A Bowie before Saturday’s game against the Red Wings.

As of June 1, the club held a 28-23 record and remained just a half-game behind the Durham Bulls for first place in the IL South.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: ROCHESTER RED WINGS

The Rochester Red Wings are the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Rochester features seven of the Twins’ top 30 prospects: left-handed pitcher Stephen Gonsalves (No. 3); shortstop Nick Gordon (4); right-handers Zack Littell (15), John Curtiss (20), and Luke Bard (27); and outfielders Jake Cave (25) and Zack Granite (26). The Red Wings entered Saturday’s game with a 27-23 record, good for third place in the IL North and just one game behind Lehigh Valley for the division lead.

 

GAME RECAPS

Rochester 3, Norfolk 1

Tides starter Yefry Ramirez pitched six strong innings on Friday night, but back-to-back home runs from the Red Wings’ Jake Cave and Chris Carter coupled with a slumping Norfolk offense doomed the Tides to their fifth straight loss.

Ruben Tejada got the Tides on the board in the fourth inning after hitting a bloop single to left-center field, scoring Caleb Joseph and giving Norfolk a 1-0 lead. Ramirez, who breezed through the first four innings, got into trouble in the fifth after Rochester opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Though Ramirez managed to get Nick Buss to fly out, he would then hit Taylor Featherston to load the bases. The Tides escaped the jam with help from first baseman Garabez Rosa, who made an excellent throw home on a ground ball to nab the lead runner for the second out of the inning. Ramirez would then strike out Nick Gordon to end the Red Wings’ threat.

Cave and Carter launched a pair of long home runs off of Ramirez to open the sixth inning and put Rochester on top – a lead they would not relinquish. Ramirez finished the sixth inning without allowing another run, but exited prior to the seventh inning having struck out six Red Wings and walked one. Rochester added another run in the top of the ninth after Gordon singled home Zack Granite from second.

Cedric Mullins, the No. 6 prospect in the Orioles organization, made an immediate impact on defense in his Tides debut with a diving catch in center field to rob Rochester’s Taylor Motter of a base hit. Mullins, a switch-hitting outfielder best known for his speed and defensive prowess, went 0-for-4 at the plate and struck out twice. The 23-year-old is expected to make his major league debut at some point this season.

 

Norfolk 7, Rochester 3

After four games of sluggish offensive production to start the homestand, the Norfolk bats exploded in the fifth inning of Saturday night’s game for six runs – helping the Tides snap a season-high five-game losing streak.

Jimmy Yacabonis, the Tides starting pitcher, threw five strong innings and yielded just one run while striking out two Red Wing hitters.

Yacabonis and two Rochester pitchers, Gabriel Moya and Jake Reed, were locked in a 1-1 pitcher’s duel through four innings. The Red Wings’ scheduled starter, Zack Littell, was promoted to the Twins earlier in the day – forcing Rochester manager Joel Skinner to mix and match pitchers throughout the night. Nick Anderson relieved Reed in the fifth and immediately gave up a bunt single to Mullins. Anderson proceeded to walk the next hitter, Renato Nunez, on four pitches and then surrendered a long three-run homer to third baseman Drew Dosch. Garabez Rosa would immediately follow with another base hit, and following another walk to Mike Yastrzemski, Caleb Joseph hit the inning’s second three-run homer to send the Harbor Park fans into a frenzy.

Left-hander Joely Rodriguez took over for Yacabonis to start the bottom of the sixth and pitched the next two frames, giving up two runs. Righty Jhan Marinez finished the game by shutting out the Red Wings in the eighth and ninth innings.

Tides first baseman Garabez Rosa also had a strong offensive showing, finishing the night 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.

 

Sunday’s game was postponed due to rain. It will be made up at a date TBD.

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The Rundown: Time to Move AJ…or At Least, His Position

Adam Jones throws the ball in the field.

The Orioles will attempt to shape the future of their organization over the next three days with the MLB Draft beginning tonight. This should continue over the next two months as Dan Duquette’s recent comments to the Baltimore Sun indicate he is ready to embrace a rebuild. I emphasize he as we really don’t know who is calling the shots, but at least it appears Duquette understands this season is a disaster and that now is the time to pivot.

We know (well, we hope) the organization can’t screw up the Manny Machado trade and hopefully Zach Britton proves he is healthy before the deadline as well. It will be interesting to see if they would move Adam Jones and if they can get anything of value for Mark Trumbo.

 

Jones Is Not a Centerfielder Anymore 

Speaking of Jones, it has become painful to watch him patrol centerfield. Moving Jones off centerfield isn’t a new idea and at the age of 32, it really shouldn’t be a surprise. It was roughly around this age that Torii Hunter was moved to a corner spot. Jones’ inefficiencies could be hidden a little if he didn’t have corner outfielders who were inadequate on a nightly basis. It was only a couple of years ago that Jones talked about needing more help in the outfield and that fell on deaf ears as the outfield defense for the O’s continues to be subpar. I think there are flaws with defensive sabermetrics, but those stats and our eyes agree here. Jones ranks near the bottom in all the key stats and the outfield as a whole is embarrassingly bad.

This could all be a moot point as there’s a chance Jones will be moved before the deadline and an even greater chance he will leave via free agency after the season. I am actually on board with bringing Jones back as I think he brings more to an organization and community than just his on-field production.

Also, Jones can still hit which these days in Birdland is hard to find. However, he would have to sign off on moving to a corner spot and with Cedric Mullins inching closer to the big leagues, that decision is coming sooner than later.

 

Mancini and Schoop’s Offensive Struggles

If I wrote down all the things that I thought could go wrong this season, I’m not sure I would have written down the offensive regression of Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop. You could use injuries as an excuse as Schoop landed on the disabled list and Mancini has dealt with a knee injury. Mancini has become a different hitter since crashing his knee into the brick wall, but Schoop has pretty much struggled since the start of the season despite a strong spring training. Hitting can be contagious in either direction and unfortunately, two of the most consistent hitters from last year have been part of the problem in 2018.

It remains to be seen if the organization will try to lock Schoop up long-term and we may be having trade conversations about him beginning in the off-season. Mancini is here for the long haul and the team needs to make it a priority to get him back on track.

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Bats Go Cold as Tides Swept by Pawtucket

The Norfolk Tides logo.

A QUICK TIDES ROAD TRIP RECAP

The Tides returned to Harbor Park on Tuesday night having gone 6-2 on their most recent road trip, which saw them make stops in Charlotte and Toledo to play the White Sox and Tigers’ affiliates, respectively.

The team’s 17-10 record in the month of May propelled them into the lead in the International League wild card race and left them only a half game back of Durham for first place in the IL South entering Tuesday’s game. Outfielder D.J. Stewart, the Orioles’ No. 11 prospect, was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain prior to the Pawtucket series. Stewart was arguably the Tides’ hottest hitter over the past three weeks, having reached base in 15 of his last 17 games while posting a .431 OBP with four home runs and five doubles in that span. INF Steve Wilkerson, who slashed .305/.375/.423 in 2017 with Frederick and Bowie, was added to the Tides’ roster after serving a 50-game suspension for a violation of MLB’s drug policy.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: PAWTUCKET RED SOX

The Pawtucket Red Sox are (unsurprisingly) the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The pitching-heavy PawSox boast six of Boston’s top 30 prospects: first baseman Sam Travis; left-handed pitchers Jalen Beeks, Bobby Poyner, and Williams Jerez; and righties Chandler Shepard and Ty Buttrey.

I was most impressed by Beeks, who looked absolutely dominant in his start on Thursday night. He struck out seven hitters while working into the eighth inning and allowing just one run. Last year, the Red Sox named the 24-year-old Beeks their Minor League Pitcher of the Year after he went 11-8 with a combined 3.29 ERA and 155 strikeouts between Double-A and Triple-A.

It’s a scary thought to imagine that sort of talent joining guys like Chris Sale and David Price on Boston’s big league pitching staff in the near future.

 

GAME RECAPS

Pawtucket 5, Tides 1

W: Justin Haley L: Tim Melville

Tides starter Tim Melville struggled in the first inning, giving up two home runs to the first four Red Sox batters, as Pawtucket breezed past Norfolk by a score of 5-1. Melville worked three innings, giving up five runs while walking three and striking out two. PawSox starter Justin Haley yielded just three hits, striking out five Tides hitters in seven innings of work. His only blemish came in the third inning when center fielder Mike Yastrzemski doubled home catcher Austin Wynns for the lone Norfolk run.

Tides relievers Paul Fry, Ryan Meisenger, and Andrew Faulkner combined for six shutout innings and five strikeouts. Pawtucket reliever Kyle Martin pitched the final two innings out of the bullpen to seal the win for the Red Sox.

Pawtucket 4, Norfolk 2

W: Fernando Rodriguez L: John Means SV: Ryan Brasier

Pawtucket third baseman Jordan Betts reached base four times and drove in a run as the Red Sox were able to squeak by the Tides on Wednesday night. Ruben Tejada put the Tides up 1-0 in the second inning with an RBI single, but Pawtucket was able to tie the game in the fourth with an RBI base knock of their own from Mike Ohlman. The Sox struck again in the following inning, stringing together two hits and a walk to chase Tides starter John Means and then working another walk and a hit by pitch from reliever Jhan Marinez to force across two runs and take the lead. Both runs scored in the fifth inning by Pawtucket were credited to Means.

The Tides were able to rally in the bottom of the sixth with base hits from Renato Nunez, Caleb Joseph, and Steve Wilkerson. A throwing error by Pawtucket shortstop Mike Miller on Wilkerson’s hit scored a run and put runners at second and third, but pitcher Fernando Rodriguez bounced back to strike out Garabez Rosa and end the Norfolk threat. The Red Sox were able to add a run in the top of the ninth after another RBI single from Ohlman to make the score 4-2. Ryan Brasier pitched the ninth inning for Pawtucket to pick up his fourth save.

Renato Nunez went 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Tides and Steve Wilkerson had one hit in four at-bats in his first game of 2018 following a 50-game suspension for testing positive for amphetamine in December of last year.

Pawtucket 4, Norfolk 3

W: Jalen Beeks L: Asher Wojciechowski SV: Williams Jerez

Pawtucket starter Jalen Beeks cruised through seven innings on Thursday night, striking out seven Tides hitters and walking none in a 4-1 Red Sox victory. Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin had two hits and two RBIs, including a home run in the third inning, and third baseman Mike Olt added a home run of his own in the fifth.

Asher Wojciechowski started for the Tides and lasted six innings, striking out five and working around four walks to allow just two runs. Matt Wotherspoon relieved Wojciechowski in the seventh inning and immediately found himself in danger following a pair of bloop hits by Oscar Hernandez and Mike Miller, who would both come around to score later in the inning. Wotherspoon would remain in the game to pitch the top of the eighth before handing the ball off to Andrew Faulkner in the ninth.

Williams Jerez relieved Beeks in the eighth after the latter allowed a single and a double to open the inning. Jerez would retire D’Arby Myers on an RBI groundout to short before getting Mike Yastrzemski to fly out and then striking out Drew Dosch to end the Norfolk threat. He would stay on to close the game for the Red Sox in the ninth inning, but surrendered a long two-out, two-run homer to Austin Wynns to close the Norfolk deficit to 4-3.

Renato Nunez, who the Orioles claimed off of waivers from the Texas Rangers on May 13, recorded a base hit in the first inning and has now hit safely in 12 of the 16 games he’s played with the Tides. Catcher/DH Caleb Joseph went 0-for-4 and is now hitting .220 in 50 at-bats since his demotion.

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Series Preview: Yankees (35-17) @ Orioles (17-39)

Kevin Gausman of the Orioles pitches on the mound.

After getting dealt a three-game sweep in the “Beltway Series” against the Nationals, the Orioles will now take on the Yankees for a four-game set before hitting the road again.

The Orioles (17-39) will look to snap a five-game losing streak in tonight’s series opener, and have gone just 4-11 over their last 15 contests. They’re also trying to avoid a 20-loss month with a record of 9-19 going into the final day of May.

The Yankees (35-17) will be feeling good after taking two of three from the reigning champion Houston Astros in the Bronx before. Just two games off the pace of the division-leading Red Sox, the Yanks are in fine form and have posted an impressive 17-7 record this month.

Andrew Cashner (2-6, 5.07 ERA) will take on Sonny Gray (3-4, 5.98 ERA) in the series opener.

Cashner took the loss after giving up five runs on 11 hits over five innings against the Rays during his last start. He’s recorded just one quality start in his last seven attempts and owns a 5.47 ERA through five starts in May.

Gray was tagged for five runs on seven hits over just 3 2/3 innings in his latest outing against the Angels. After posting a horrid 6.67 ERA over six starts in April, Gray has seen a slight turnaround this month with a 2-2 record and a 5.16 ERA through four starts. The Bombers are surely hoping for better results from their star pitcher going forward.

Kevin Gausman (3-4, 4.31 ERA) will take the mound against Masahiro Tanaka (6-2, 4.62 ERA) on Friday.

Gausman coughed up seven runs on six hits over just 2 2/3 innings during his last start in Tampa, and will need to bounce back quickly against the Yankees. Despite being in excellent form for most of the season, Gausman has allowed thirteen runs over his last 13 2/3 innings after two rough recent outings. His ERA has jumped from 3.18 to 4.31 over his last three starts.

Tankaka notched his sixth win of the season after holding the Angels to one run on three hits over six innings in his last start. It was the only time this month in which he’s held an opponent to three runs or less. In five starts in May, Tanaka has gone 2-0 despite ownining a 4.94 ERA.

Alex Cobb (1-7, 6.80 ERA) will match-up against Domingo German (0-3, 5.45 ERA) on Saturday.

Cobb turned in a very solid outing his last time out and held the Nationals to three runs on five hits over seven innings, but took the loss in the 6-0 Nats’ win. Cobb has recorded an impressive month in which he’s posted four quality starts in six attempts. The hope is that he will only get better from this point on.

German took the loss after giving up three runs over 5 2/3 innings against the Astros, and is still searching for his first big league win. Through four starts in May, German has went 0-2 with a 5.55 ERA.

Dylan Bundy (3-7, 4.46 ERA) will go up against CC Sabathia (2-1, 3.73 ERA) in Sunday’s series finale.

Bundy battled admirably during his last start against the Nationals, but took the loss after allowing three runs on 11 hits over six innings. Bundy looks to be back in-form after allowing just six runs over his last 15 innings of work, but still owns a 2-4 record and a 6.12 ERA through six starts in May due to his prior struggles.

Sabathia took the no-decision against the Astros after giving up three runs on eight hits over five innings in an eventual Yankees win. The Yankees veteran hurler has come back down to earth after an incredible month of April and owns a 5.92 ERA through five starts in May.

That’s all for now, folks!

Here’s to ending the losing streak.

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Thursday’s O’s Links: There is No Bottom

Buck Showalter scowls from the dugout.

The Orioles got swept by the D.C. team in a three-game set at HOME, and scored just two runs in the entire 27 innings of the series. You keep thinking they’ve hit rock bottom, and they keep plummeting through the floor.

Links.

Orioles 2018 Rotation has Been Nearly as Awful as 2017’s

The O’s set a franchise record for starting-pitching futility in 2017. They got rid of Ubaldo, and Miley, and cut the Chris Tillman experiment short. They added actual decent MLB starting pitchers…and they’re still horrible. Yet, somehow, through ALL OF THIS, Roger McDowell keeps his job. Flabbergasting.

The Memorial Day Deadline is Here

Have you guys checked out The Warehouse Pod yet? Tyler, Jesse, and Marcus (Eli, this week) are Birds fans who just started up this show (this is episode 10), and so far I’m a fan. I’m always looking for more Birdland podcasts, though these days it’s just because misery loves company. Anywho, give them a listen.

Poor Roster Construction Dooms O’s Again

Dan Connolly has taken the kid gloves off when it comes to detailing just how flawed and awful this team is.

Cliff Lee was Drafted by O’s, but Went to College Instead

20 years ago, the Orioles saw something in a high school lefty, picking him in the 20th round. He didn’t sign, and went on to have an amazing career elsewhere. It was actually he second time getting drafted and eschewing the big league squad, so whatever. The O’s would have ruined him anyway.

Mike Trout Somehow Got Better – This is How

What the hell is this Mike Trout link doing here? I dunno man, I’m sick of depressing stuff. Let’s read about the best player of our generation, who could actually be the best player in history. His commitment to getting better – when he was already damn incredible – is something I sure wish some Orioles shared. But again, this isn’t to bash the Birds. I just want to read about good baseball, and good baseball players. If you agree, check out this article.

 

Four against the Yankees on deck. Yippee.

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Thursday Thoughts: O’s Fans Should Stuff the Ballot Box…for Nick

Nick Markakis tips his helmet.

This is a weekly column that dives into some random thoughts about the Orioles/MLB. I used to do eight as a nod to Cal Ripken Jr. As of last year, I cut it down to four or five, so consider it the Earl Weaver/€“Brooks Robinson era of Thursday Thoughts. – A.S.

1. I’ve been scouring the internet all week to look for potential Twitter burner accounts used by Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. I mean, hey, I hear it’s a popular thing to do these days. We’re talking about the same guy who once had his personal cell phone number posted on social media, so who knows what is out there. I’ll keep you posted.

I figured that’s the best place to look for clues at this point when it comes to trying to find out what the Orioles might be doing between now and July 31st. They certainly haven’t announced any plans and haven’t given any clues. Memorial Day, which as you know was this past Monday, was supposed to be the demarcation day for when the O’s decided what kind of chance they had this season. Obviously they didn’t need to wait that long, but now that the day has come and gone, I’m waiting on pins and needles for some kind of direction. Any hint of a plan, or who is in charge of the plan or whether or not the Orioles realize there should be a plan would be nice.

In the meantime, I’ll be thinking of potential Twitter handles that could be out there just revealing any speck of information from the Warehouse.

2. One part of any plan for the next few months should involve Zach Britton, who got his injury rehab stint underway last night with Frederick. The Baltimore Sun’s Jon Meoli was on hand in Wilmington, Delaware last night (with his trusty radar gun) for the Keys’ game against the Blue Rocks.

(As a side note, a wonderful place to take in a ballgame).

Zach Britton looks in for a sign.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

Meoli reported that Britton was sitting at 92-94 on his fastball during a scoreless inning in which he recorded three swinging strikeouts. Britton is going to be a crucial part of the Orioles’ plan to rebuild. They need to ensure that he comes back to the big league club fully healthy and with enough time to build back some value before the deadline. They aren’t going to get a haul for Britton, but they should be able to get something. It’s the same with basically every other player that has an expiring contract on this team. The value won’t be super high, but they have to be able to acquire something from these pieces, rather than just letting them walk in the winter.

3. I’m doing my best to temper my expectations, but each time David Hess takes the mound, it’s hard not to be a little impressed. Hess seems like the perfect candidate to make Chris Tillman just float away into the abyss this season. The Orioles don’t need him to become a top-line starter this season, or next. Hess just needs to continue developing into a decent pitcher. That’s all. That’s all they need from a player where there really aren’t any expectations. He’s not Tanner Scott or DL Hall. He’s certainly not Hunter Harvey. Hess can settle in and give the Orioles quality where they aren’t even anticipating it.

What’s probably most important in the near future is that Hess is giving the Orioles cover to keep Tillman away from the mound. As long as he can continue to do that, I’ll be more than impressed.

4. Voting for the All-Star Game starts tomorrow, and Orioles fans may think they don’t have much motivation to stuff the ballot box (virtually of course). Manny Machado will likely be the O’s lone representative (as long as he isn’t traded before teams are announced). There really isn’t any other player that’s close to deserving of a trip down the street to Washington, DC for this July’s AL-NL tilt.

But there is another reason O’s fans should spend some time on MLB.com voting for the players that will get in the game.

It’s time to remove Nick Markakis from the “best players to have never been an All-Star” list. The boys from the Birds Eye View podcast were all over this earlier in the week, and I encourage you to give a listen to their thoughts on Markakis. The former Oriole is having a great season in Atlanta alongside his brother-in-law, Ryan Flaherty. Markakis is on pace for more than 200 hits, which would be a first in his career. The 34-year-old also already has seven home runs after hitting eight all of last year. He’s also on pace to have more walks than strikeouts this season, in an age where that is virtually impossible.

Markakis has been a key veteran on a young, surging Braves team that looks poised to make a playoff push in the tough NL East.

O’s fans should get him to the All-Star Game, or at least root for it to happen. It’ll make cheering for him during his induction into the Orioles Hall of Fame someday that much sweeter.

5, There was a ton of fervor on social media this week regarding the Orioles wearing gear in support of the Washington Capitals. I say all of this as an actual real life Caps fan from the Baltimore-metro area – who cares?

None of this really does anything for me, even though I’ve been a fan of the hockey team since the mid-90s, when I actually learned what hockey was. There are a lot of anti-Washington people in Baltimore, and I get that. I also understand fully how weird it is that the O’s players and coaches were wearing Caps colors this week while playing against another Washington team (which happens to rock the same colors). It’s all weird. But it also doesn’t really matter.

Folks were getting so worked up about this, probably just because they are tired of getting worked up about how bad the baseball team is this year. I guess it gets under my skin because I’m tired of being called a bad Baltimore sports fan because I support a team from Washington. The Capitals are the closest hockey team to Baltimore, and their games have aired in the region forever. They are the team I got to grow up watching, therefore I support them. I find it weird that the Orioles have been throwing their support behind them, but I also don’t really care. It also makes a bit of sense for the organization, considering they are trying to encompass as much of the Washington, DC market as possible.

It’s easy to forget that before the Nationals were around, the O’s could draw fans not only in DC, but deep into Virginia as well. The Orioles are likely just still trying to siphon some of that support, which from me, gets the biggest of shoulder shrugs.

6. The MLB first-year player draft gets underway on Monday, and I have a simple reminder to fans who have any interest: Whoever the Orioles happen to select with the 11th overall pick isn’t going to be the replacement for “Player X.” If they pick a third baseman or shortstop, it won’t be because they are planning on losing Manny Machado this offseason. If they select an outfielder, the same goes for the future of Adam Jones. If it’s a pitcher, don’t think it’ll be that guy replacing Chris Tillman in the near future. What’s important to remember when it comes to these prospects is that they are mostly malleable. Mychal Givens, for example, used to be a shortstop. There are certain tools and traits each draft pick will have, and what’s more important is how they are developed.

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Tuesday’s O’s Links: Runs…How Do They Work?

Manny Machado asks "what's up?"

After a road trip that was, unfortunately, successful by their standards at 4-7, the Birds returned home on Memorial Day and got smoked by the Washington Nationals in the first of a three-game set. The Orioles just can’t seem to score like…any runs (scoreless in 17 straight innings), which is a problem for a major league baseball team. Reportedly, that’s what the Baltimore Orioles are. Opinions vary.

To the links, I guess.

There are Still Some Positives for the Very Bad Orioles

Let’s do our best to stave off the depression for another moment or two, shall we? Camden Depot’s Matt Kremnitzer turns over every boulder, stone, and pebble to try to find anything on the plus side of the ledger for the 2018 O’s.

Bird’s Eye View Episode 239: MemOriole Daze

You thought Jake and Scott would take the holiday off? Ha! Unlike the Orioles’ bats, these guys actually show up when we expect them to.

Richard Bleier’s Brilliance is Unique (And Under the Radar)

David Laurila had a fascinating conversation with Richard Bleier recently about his accidental cutter that’s made him quietly one of the best relief pitchers in the game. (We’ll ignore him continuing to regress to the mean yesterday).

A Third of the Season is Over, and O’s Need to Face Reality

Like the rest of us, Baltimore Baseball’s Dan Connolly has seen enough. We’ve reached the Memorial Day marker that Dan Duquette hinted at a month or so ago, and things haven’t gotten any better. Unfortunately, DD doesn’t have any power these days. Will Anderson and the Angeloses be convinced to sell and sell hard? We’ll see.

Hot Commodities in Relief Pitching Market

According to Buster Olney, the Orioles will, in fact, start selling here soon…after the draft. In addition to Zach Britton, who could be back to audition for suitors here in a few weeks’ time, he mentions Bleier as a potential trade candidate, along with, of course, Manny Machado.

 

Let’s not get swept by the Gnats, please. Please?

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Series Preview: Orioles (17-36) vs. Nationals (29-22)

Mascots of the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals.

After concluding an eleven-game road swing by dropping two of three to the Rays over the weekend, the Orioles are set to return home and host the Nationals for a three-game set.

The Orioles (17-36) have dug themselves into a massive hole through the first two months of the season. After going 8-20 through April, they’ve gone just 9-16 in the month of May. An upcoming seven-game home stand against the in-form Nationals and Yankees is up next on the schedule.

The Nationals (29-22) may have stumbled out of the starting blocks in April, but have wasted no time in finding their feet this month. Fresh off of a three-game sweep of the Marlins in South Beach, the Nats’ record in May stands at an impressive 16-6.

Alex Cobb (1-6, 7.32 ERA) will take on Gio Gonzalez (5-2, 2.38 ERA) in today’s Memorial Day match-up.
Cobb was tagged to the tune of six runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings during his last start in Chicago, but had posted quality starts in three of the four starts prior to his most recent outing. He owns a 1-3 record and a 4.88 ERA through five starts in May.

Gonzalez has been in excellent form for the Nats this season, and picked up his fifth win on the year after holding the Padres to two runs on just two hits over seven innings during his last start. Through four starts in May, Gonzalez has gone 2-0 with a sparkling 1.96 ERA.

Dylan Bundy (3-6, 4.45 ERA) will go up against Jeremy Hellickson (1-0, 2.13 ERA) on Tuesday.

Bundy was phenomenal during his last start against the White Sox and allowed three runs on two hits over nine innings while racking up a whopping fourteen strikeouts in the process. Over his last three starts, Bundy seems to have snapped back into form and has gone 2-1 with a stellar 2.86 ERA during that span.

Hellickson has had a tremendous start to his tenure in DC to say the least. After holding the Padres to a single run over 5 1/3 innings during his last start, Hellickson now owns a magnificent 0.79 ERA and a 0.66 WHIP through 22 2/3 innings pitched this month over four starts.

David Hess (2-1, 4.15 ERA) will face Max Scherzer (8-1, 2.13 ERA) in Wedneday’s series finale.

Hess was impressive en route to holding the Rays to just four hits over 6 2/3 shutout innings during his latest outing, and will be looking to keep the ball rolling against a dangerous Nationals line-up. He’s posted quality starts in two of his first three career contests since being called up on May 12th.

Simply put, Scherzer is at it again this season. Despite allowing four runs over six innings during his last start in Miami, he picked up the win and now owns a 3-0 record and a stellar 2.76 ERA through five starts in May. On the year, Scherzer has allowed two runs or less in ten of his eleven starts, five hits or less in nine of eleven and has recorded ten-plus strikeouts on seven different occasions.

 

Notes

Adam Jones remains in red-hot form coming into the week. He’s hitting .379 (11-for-29) with five runs, two homers and two RBI over his last seven contests. He’s also hitting .316 with four doubles, five home runs and ten RBI on the month.

Jonathan Schoop is starting to heat up as we approach June. Over his last seven games, the Orioles star second baseman is hitting .310 with five runs, one homer and one RBI. He’s also recorded hits in six of seven contests during that span.

Trea Turner comes into town on a hot streak. Over his last seven ballgames, the Nationals dynamo is hitting .313 (10-for-32) with one homer and seven RBI.

Mark Reynolds is the Nationals danger man at the moment. Over ten games in May, the former Orioles slugger is hitting a ridiculous .448 (13-for-29) with eight runs, five home runs and seven RBI.

That’s it for now, folks!

Enjoy the beltway series.

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Series Preview: Orioles (16-34) @ Rays (23-25)

Sergio Romo of the Rays walks off the mound.

After splitting their four-game set with the White Sox in Chi-Town, the Orioles are now set to conclude their road trip with a three-game set in Tampa over the weekend.

The Orioles (16-34) have gone 3-5 so far during their current stint away from Camden Yards, but seem to be determined to put their early-season misery behind them. After starting the 2018 campaign on an 8-27 note, they’ve now doubled their season win total over the last fifteen games.

The Rays (23-25) are set to host the Birds after dropping two of three against the Red Sox, but have been in solid form as of late. After going 3-8 through their first eleven games in May, they’ve now won seven of their last ten contests.

David Hess (1-1, 6.75 ERA) will get the nod against Sergio Romo (1-0, 4.34 ERA) in tonight’s series opener.

Hess will be looking to get back in the win column after giving up five runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings during his latest outing in Boston. He notched his first career win on his MLB debut against the Rays on May 12th.

Romo will be making his third straight ”start” as part of Tampa Bay’s piggyback pitching set-up. Over nine games (two starts) this month, Romo has posted a stout 3.00 ERA and has held hitters to a .206 batting average over nine innings of work.

Andrew Cashner (2-5, 4.72 ERA) will match-up against Ryne Stanek (0-0, 5.40 ERA) on Saturday.
Cashner snapped his streak of seven straight starts without a win during his last time out by holding the Chi’Sox to two runs over five innings, and will be looking for a second straight solid outing in Tampa. Over four starts this month, Cashner has gone 1-1 with a 4.64 ERA.

Stanek will be making his first ever start against the Orioles. A first round pick out of Arkansas in 2013, Stanek owns a 5.76 ERA over 27 career appearances as a reliever since making his debut in May 2017.

Kevin Gausman (3-3, 3.48 ERA) will look to record another excellent start against Sergio Romo/ Ryan Yarbrough (4-2, 3.54 ERA) in the series finale on Sunday.

Gausman shut out the White Sox over 6 1/3 innings and recorded ten strikeouts to just one walk during his last start, but was robbed of the win due to the ‘Sox late-game comeback win. The Orioles 2018 ace has been lights out with a 2.63 ERA over four starts this month, and has gone 2-2 with a sparkling 2.49 ERA over his last seven contests.

Yarbrough has been starring in his current role with the Rays, and the Rays’ unorthodox approach doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon. The rookie southpaw has allowed just two runs over his last 11 1/3 innings. Over four games (two starts) in May, Yarbrough has notched a 3-1 record and a stellar 2.95 ERA over 21 1/3 innings of work.

 

Notes

Manny Machado continues to be one of the hottest hitters in baseball coming into Tampa. He’s hitting .311 with six homers and seventeen RBI over his last fifteen games.

Adam Jones has also stayed in red-hot form this month. He’s hitting .310 with four doubles, five homers and ten RBI in May and has posted a .367 average with two homers and four RBI over his last seven contests.

Matt Duffy is on fire at the moment. Over his last fifteen games, the Rays Third Baseman is hitting an incredible .382 (21-for-55) with one home run and seven RBI.

– Rays catcher and former National Wilson Ramos is also tearing the cover off the ball this season. He’s hitting a whopping .385 with two home runs and six RBI over his last seven ballgames and has recorded an excellent .339 average with six homers and 24 RBI over his last thirty.

That’s it for now, folks!

Here’s to coming home on a high note.

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Thursday Thoughts: Anderson Seems to Prefer “Hybrid” Role

Dan Duquette and Brady Anderson stand near the Orioles dugout.

This is a weekly column that dives into some random thoughts about the Orioles/MLB. I used to do eight as a nod to Cal Ripken Jr. As of last year, I cut it down to four or five, so consider it the Earl Weaver/€“Brooks Robinson era of Thursday Thoughts. – A.S.

1. All the chatter surrounding the Orioles right now pertains to one basic premise – what’s next? No one really knows, and that’s really because still, no one knows who is calling the shots. The Baltimore Sun published a piece yesterday that seemed to generate much conversation about this topic.

The article, written by Eduardo Encina and Peter Schmuck with contributions from Jeff Barker and Jon Meoli, honestly didn’t teach me much. From everything I read on blogs and social media, many focused on Brady Anderson, the team’s Vice President of Baseball Operations. He was obviously the main source of the article as he’s quoted throughout. In it, he said he did not want to be the team’s general manager next season.

To me, it’s important to read between the lines of what Anderson is saying. He’s not going to come right out and say he wants the role and responsibilities currently owned by Dan Duquette, because Duquette is still with the organization (much to many people’s chagrin or surprise). Even if he does want such a role, he can’t just come right out and claim it. It wouldn’t be right. But deep down I’m not so sure Anderson wants to be in that role, because it would put him behind a desk. It would require him to know more about all levels of the minor leagues and even farm systems for the other 29 teams. It would involve much more scouting (in a franchise that already has a tiny scouting department) than he seems accustomed to.

Anderson has played this hybrid role of front office member and almost coach for a few years now. He’s active with players and I don’t see it as something he’d want to give up. Unless there’s some type of overhaul of his role where he would be elevated to make all the baseball decisions while keeping his current role of being someone who works out with players, I don’t see it happening. He would need a huge support staff in order to make something like that work.

2. Everyone is playing fantasy GM right now when it comes to Manny Machado, so allow me to join in. Before I do, I’ll say that I have no idea what the O’s can get for Machado in a trade. I don’t think his value is nearly as high as some people think, but I also don’t think it’s super low just because he’s a rental. Much of the conversation has surrounded the Cubs and their shortstop Addison Russell.

Just the other day, former GM Jim Bowden speculated in “The Athletic” that the Cubs would be the favorite to land Machado and could do so with Russell and perhaps two of their pitching prospects. That’s all fine and dandy. Especially when he speculated that the O’s could add Adam Jones to a deal and land Ian Happ in return. I’m fine with all of it.

But I wouldn’t prefer it. Something about Russell rubs me the wrong way. The 24-year-old was the centerpiece in the 2014 trade from the Athletics that sent him, Billy McKinney and Dan Straily to Chicago in exchange for Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. So one team has already traded him away. He’s still young, and has already been an All-Star, but my sensors go off when a second team is willing to ship him away.

I’d be more comfortable with another deal Bowden proposed in his piece. If the Orioles can somehow pry J.P. Crawford away from the Phillies, that would be my ideal move. Again, this is all in a perfect world where we are playing fantasy GM. Bowden also said the Phillies might be willing to throw in top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, which I find hard (if not impossible) to believe, but that would be about 17 cherries on top of the sundae. Not only because Sanchez is supposedly one of the can’t-miss pitching arms in the minors, but also because his name is Sixto and that’s just awesome.

3. The struggles of Chris Davis have reached a fever pitch, but don’t expect the Orioles to cut ties. Many are calling for it, but this is the same team that didn’t cut ties with Ubaldo Jimenez on a four-year deal through his struggles. Davis is still somehow getting starts while batting fifth in the order. He hasn’t fallen that far from grace in the eyes of the team, despite his abysmal stat line.

More than anything, it looks like there’s a mental block with Davis rather than a physical one. Watching him constantly stare at strike three down the middle is frustrating and concerning. I’ve seen more two-seam fastballs break right over the heart of the plate with no offering as these struggles continue. I had to see it to believe it when I looked it up the other day, but Davis could have a legitimate shot at breaking the all-time career strikeout mark if he continues to play regularly.

In this day and age, it’s not all that shocking. The strikeout is much more prevalent in today’s game than in the past. Reggie Jackson holds the record with 2,597 career strikeouts, and Davis would have to continue his 200+ strikeout pace beyond his current contract. But it’s within reach. Something tells me that Davis will soon become more of a 110-120 game player each season at best if he keeps up his struggles.

We may not be far off from that.

4. Last week’s demotion of Caleb Joseph came as a bit of a surprise to me. It was surprising only in the sense that it wasn’t expected, not that it was unreasonable. Joseph was hitting just .182/.203/.325 in 24 games with the O’s this season and losing playing time to rookie Chance Sisco. There’s no question that, even in a completely lost season, swapping out one of the two catcher’s spots on the roster was reasonable from a numbers standpoint.

But in such a lost season, what did not compute for me was bringing up Andrew Susac over Austin Wynns. It’s not that there’s a large age gap between the two (Susac is 28, Wynns is 27), but Wynns is a player drafted by the Orioles and thought to be, along with Sisco, one of the future “pieces” for the organization.

In a lost season such as this, the team should be getting every look it can at players it believes can be part of the future. I’m not really convinced the team traded for Susac because he is part of the future. In the long run, Sisco is going to get the bulk of the playing time anyhow and is the player the organization wants to be the catcher going forward. But it would be interesting to see Wynns get a chance to show something at the big league level in the near future.

This idea or premise, of course, applies to every position at this point. The Orioles should be evaluating their own talent for the future.

The question just remains, who is it exactly that is doing the evaluating?

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Tuesday’s O’s Links: Chicago Swarms Manny

Cubs fans with a sign saying they want Manny Machado.

After another disappointing series in Boston (where they’re now 1-6 this season), the Birds flew to Chicago for a matchup of teams that look to be vying for the number one pick in next year’s draft. The O’s got the better of the ChiSox in game one, but all eyes were on Manny Machado, who is rumored to be headed to The Windy City in a trade – though not to the Sox.

To the links.

Teammates Play Along as Machado is Greeted as Potential Cubs Savior in Chicago

Like I said above, Manny was greeted by a gaggle of Chicago reporters who wanted to ask him about potentially playing for the Cubs. His teammates had some fun at his expense, giving him mock hugs as if he was already gone. Ha ha…(sobbing quietly)

Also, I had no idea Manny & Cub Albert Almora Jr. were cousins. Neat.

Bird’s Eye View Episode 238: Either/Or

Jake & Scott debut a new segment, #TheMannyMachadoWatch. Also, what’s up with Dylan Bundy, why did Caleb Joseph get demoted, and what’s different about cheering for a bad team?

How High Will Chris Davis Climb on the Career Strikeouts List?

Mark Brown of Camden Chat presents a “fun” little thought exercise about Chris Davis, because there is literally nothing fun about watching “Crush” (HA!) swing the bat right now.

Could O’s Learn from the Rays’ New Pitching Strategy?

Over in his weekly MASN guest column, our own Andrew Stetka wonders if the Birds should start #bullpenning early in games as the Rays did with Sergio Romo over the weekend. Right here at ESR, Riley Blake had some thoughts on this as well.

2021 is a Fair Target, So Tear Down That Club!

Camden Depot’s Jon Shepherd turns an eye toward making the O’s competitive again in 2021 (sigh), and says that trading not only Machado, but Jonathan Schoop, AND Kevin Gausman (all players who will be free agents after 2020 or sooner) to restock the farm. Short of just saying “get some prospects!,” Jon uses his industry knowledge and connections to aim for specific players from specific teams.

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The Case for an Orioles “Opener”

Mychal Givens pitches.

The Tampa Bay Rays turned heads on Saturday night when they opted to use set-up man Sergio Romo as their starting pitcher against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Romo had made 589 big league appearances prior to Saturday, with every single one of them coming in relief. The thought process employed by manager Kevin Cash and the Rays front office was simple: allow Romo to pitch to the right-handed heavy top half of the Angels lineup and then allow left-hander Ryan Yarbrough to take over in a long relief role. The plan worked to perfection, as Romo struck out all three batters he faced (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, and Justin Upton) before giving way to Yarbrough in the second inning.

MLB Network analyst and sabermetrics guru Brian Kenny had long advocated for a similar plan of bullpen usage. In theory, this would allow a club’s top relief pitchers to face the opposing team’s top hitters right off the bat and prevent them from getting a third at-bat against the same pitcher like they would against a conventional starter. In a clip posted to his Twitter feed on Saturday, Kenny lauded the Rays move as revolutionary and noted that MLB clubs have scored more runs on average in the first inning than any other inning in the modern era. Kenny also threw in a statistic that may be of particular interest to O’s fans: the Orioles lead the major leagues with 60 runs allowed this season in the first inning alone.

Would an “opener” make sense for the Birds? Maybe, but only against teams like the Angels whose top three or four hitters hit from the same side of the plate or who have similar splits against a particular handedness of pitcher. The top four hitters (sorted by 2018 OPS) of the Orioles’ four AL East opponents are as follows:

Three of the top four hitters in the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays lineups are right-handed. Of course, using a right-handed opening pitcher against these teams wouldn’t be as straightforward as what the Rays did to the three right-handers at the top of the Angels lineup, as the opener would still need to face at least one lefty hitter. Further complicating the matter, not all of the hitters mentioned above hit at the top of the lineup. This is a risk the Orioles would have to take if they decide to use an opener, especially considering that managers looking to exploit the opening pitcher may stack the top of the lineup with opposite handed hitters. But is it worth it for Yankees manager Aaron Boone to move Judge and Stanton to the bottom of the Yankees lineup simply to avoid the opening pitcher, even if it means they would get fewer at-bats overall? I don’t think so.

Which pitchers, then, could the Orioles use as right-handed openers? Two traits could indicate that a pitcher might be a good fit: the ability to limit offensive output from right-handed batters and/or a tendency to struggle after facing hitters for the second or third time in a game.

Three Orioles pitchers jump off of the page as fitting this profile.

Mychal Givens, RHP

Givens has been an integral part of the Orioles’ relief corps since 2015, posting a career ERA of 2.79 out of the bullpen. He’s also been consistently good against hitters from both sides of the plate. However, his three-quarters arm slot and devastating slider make him especially tough on righties. Givens’ combination of arm slot, pitch repertoire, and comfort level in retiring hitters from both sides of the plate makes him the Orioles pitcher I would most trust getting through the difficult top halves of the Yankees and Red Sox lineups – especially considering that Stanton, Sanchez, Judge, and Betts are hitting a combined .200 (5 for 25) against him.

Darren O’Day, RHP

Much like Givens, O’Day’s uncommon arm slot and good slider as a reliever make him a natural fit to get tough right-handed hitters out. Unlike Givens, however, O’Day has a more difficult time retiring lefties than righties: over the past three years, left-handers have combined OPS of .691 against him (compared to .553 when he faces right-handers). This could make it a difficult assignment for O’Day to retire lefty hitters like Andrew Benintendi or Didi Gregorius on a consistent basis.

Yefry Ramirez, RHP

Ramirez is a member of the Triple-A Norfolk Tides’ starting rotation. So far in 2018, he’s limited hitters to a .203 batting average while striking out 10.1 batters per 9 innings, both of which indicate strong performance. A closer analysis of his pitching splits reveals that lefties are hitting .245 with an astounding .732 OPS off of Ramirez, whereas he’s limited righties to a .141 average and an OPS of .394. Unlike Givens or O’Day, he also has recent starting experience and would be comfortable pitching multiple innings if need be.

While I would still prefer to see the Orioles give Givens a shot as an opening pitcher, I would be more than comfortable handing the ball to O’Day or Ramirez as an opener against right-heavy lineups. The Orioles, much like the Rays, aren’t expected to do much of anything this year in an AL East division dominated by Boston and New York. There’s no better time than now to experiment with this idea, even if it sounds odd and sacrilegious on the surface. In the worst case scenario, the Orioles are marginally worse than expected.

In the best case, they find a pitching strategy that allows them a leg up on their American League competition for several years to come.

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Series Preview: Orioles (14-32) @ White Sox (13-30)

Andrew Cashner pitches.

After dropping three of four to the Red Sox at Fenway Park, the Orioles are now set to kick off a four-game series in the Windy City against the White Sox.

The Orioles (14-32) will be aiming for better results during the second leg of their current three-city road trip, but that has been easier said than done this season. The Orioles are 6-12 thus far in May and have went 1-15 over their last 16 games on the road.

The White Sox, on the other hand, haven’t piled up a lot of fond memories this season either. They’ve gone 5-12 so far during the month of May and have posted a dreadful 6-16 record at home this season. Three of those wins came during the latter part of last week against the struggling Texas Rangers.

Andrew Cashner (1-5, 4.83 ERA) will take the mound against Hector Santiago (0-1, 5.29 ERA) in tonight’s series opener.

Cashner took another loss during his last start after giving up three runs over 5 2/3 innings against the Phillies. He will be looking for his first win since April 5th. The native Texan has went 0-4 with a 5.03 ERA over his last seven starts. He’s also allowed three runs or more in six straight starts.

Santiago took the no-decision in his latest start despite giving up just two runs on two hits over five innings against the Pirates. He’ll be making his fourth start of the season on Monday after starting the season in the bullpen.

Kevin Gausman (3-3, 3.88 ERA) will take on James Shields (1-4, 4.88 ERA) in Tuesday’s match-up.

Gausman took the loss after getting tagged for six runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings in Boston, but will be looking to quickly bounce back into his previous stellar form. He had allowed two runs or less in five straight starts prior to his last while recording an outstanding 1.75 ERA during that span.

Shields took a tough no-decision in his last start despite shutting down the Rangers to the tune of one run on three hits over 7 1/3 innings. After posting an 0-3 record and a 6.17 ERA during the month of April, Shields has returned to form by posting a stout 3.46 ERA through four starts in May.

Alex Cobb (1-5, 6.56 ERA) will get the nod for the O’s on Wednesday, but the White Sox haven’t named his adversary as of yet.

Cobb finally notched his long-awaited first win as an Oriole after holding the Red Sox to three runs over 6 1/3 innings last Friday, but has been in great form all month long for the Birds. After going through a nightmare in April, Cobb has recorded an impressive 3.38 ERA through four starts thus far in May.

Dylan Bundy (2-6, 4.70 ERA) will match-up against Lucas Giolito (3-4, 6.42 ERA) in the series finale on Thursday.

Bundy took the loss after allowing four runs on three homers over six innings at Fenway. He will be looking to bounce back in a hurry. After starting off the season in tremendous form, Bundy has gone 1-4 with a worrisome 9.41 ERA over his last five starts.

Giolito notched his second straight win after holding the Rangers to two runs on four hits over six innings, and will be looking to stay in current form against the Orioles. After a rough go of things in the early stages this season, Giolito has gone 3-1 with a 4.55 ERA over his last five outings and has allowed three runs or less in four of them.

Notes:

Manny Machado carries a four-game hit streak into the Windy City and has stayed in red-hot form as we enter the final third of May. On the month, Machado is hitting .314 with six doubles, five home runs and 20 RBI.

Adam Jones has also been in great form during the month of May. He’s recorded hits in 14 of his last 15 contests and is also hitting .314 with three doubles, three homers and eight RBI on the month.

— The red-hot Danny Valencia will look to stay in-form during the Orioles stay in Chi-Town. He’s gone 8-for-15 during his four-game hit streak and is hitting an incredible .394 with two homers and seven RBI this month.

— Danger! White Sox superstar Jose Abreu is heating up, and maybe the Orioles shouldn’t pitch to him. He’s hitting .354 with eight doubles, two home runs and 13 RBI during the month of May.

That’s it for now, folks!

Here’s to hitting Tampa on a high note.

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Ramirez Impressive, but Tides Drop Two of Three

Yefry Ramirez pitches.

SERIES RECAP: INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS @ NORFOLK TIDES, MAY 15-17

The Norfolk Tides returned home to Harbor Park on Wednesday night for a three game series against the Indianapolis Indians. The club dropped two out of three games, but starting pitcher Yefry Ramirez and infielder Drew Dosch each made significant contributions.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS

The Indianapolis Indians are the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Indians entered the first game of the series at 18-16, good for second place in the International League West and 4.5 games behind the first place Toledo Mud Hens. The team features four of the Pirates’ top 30 prospects as ranked by MLB’s Prospect Pipeline: outfielder Austin Meadows (2), shortstop Kevin Newman (7), second baseman Kevin Kramer (8), and outfielder Jordan Luplow (22). The Indians’ offense ranks first in the International League in team batting average and combined on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS). Shortstop Kevin Newman was the reigning International League Player of the Week, having posted a fantastic batting line of .519/.552/.778 for the previous week’s games.

RECAPPING THE SEASON TO DATE: NORFOLK TIDES

The Tides entered the series with the Indians in second place in the International League South with a record of 19-15, 1.5 games behind the division-leading Durham Bulls. After an April that saw the club tread water with a record of 11-10, the club enjoyed an 8-5 start to May behind the bats of third baseman Drew Dosch and catcher Andrew Susac, who entered the Indianapolis series hitting .320 on the year, including a .433 average against right-handed pitching.

The Tides feature five of the Orioles top 30 prospects: outfielder D.J. Stewart (11), left-handed pitcher Chris Lee (12), right-handers David Hess and Yefry Ramirez (16 and 17, respectively) and catcher Austin Wynns (22).

INDIVIDUAL GAME RECAPS

Indianapolis 10, Norfolk 8

W: Alex McRae L: Chris Lee SV: Johnny Hellweg

A late comeback from the Tides fell just short on Tuesday night, as they were defeated by Indianapolis 10-8. A 10-run second inning doomed Norfolk starting pitcher Chris Lee, who exited after 1.2 innings pitched having given up seven runs (four earned). Reliever Jhan Marinez gave up three runs in 3.1 innings of relief, though none were earned. The Tides scored eight unanswered runs between the 3rd and 7th innings, but failed to push home any more in the 8th or 9th.

Center fielder Mike Yastrzemski went 3-4 and finished a home run shy of the cycle in his 2018 Tides debut after a promotion from AA Bowie. Third baseman Drew Dosch had three hits, including a pair of doubles.

Norfolk 4, Indianapolis 3

W: Matt Wotherspoon L: Bo Schultz

Third baseman Renato Nunez had three RBIs, including a walk-off base hit, as the Tides fended off a ninth inning Indianapolis rally en route to a 4-3 victory on a rainy Wednesday night. Tides starter Yefry Ramirez twirled seven shutout innings while allowing only one hit, while Nunez and left fielder Jaycob Brugman staked the Tides to an early 3-0 lead with RBI hits in the third and fourth innings. Reliever Andrew Faulkner pitched a clean eighth, but a pair of Indianapolis singles in the ninth prompted Tides manager Ron Johnson to call on Matt Wotherspoon out of the bullpen.

Wotherspoon immediately surrendered a three-run homer to Indians outfielder Jordan Luplow to tie the game, though the right-hander worked his way out of trouble by recording the final two outs to send the game to the bottom half of the frame still tied at 3. An inning opening single by Brugman in the bottom of the ninth of off newly-entered Indians reliever Bo Schultz was followed by a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Adrian Marin and an intentional walk to center fielder Mike Yastrzemski, paving the way for Nunez to line a ball into the left field corner to easily score Brugman from second and send Norfolk home with the win.

Indianapolis 6, Norfolk 0

W: Clay Holmes L: Jason Gurka

Indianapolis starter Clay Holmes blanked the Tides on Thursday afternoon, tossing six shutout innings while allowing only two hits. Both Holmes and Norfolk starter Jimmy Yacabonis were forced to work around a 33-minute rain delay in the top of the fourth inning.

Yacabonis worked through the fourth inning, striking out three and having needed to work in and out of trouble. The Indians scored their first run in the sixth inning after outfielder Jordan Ludlow hit a ringing double off of Tides reliever Jason Gurka to plate Kevin Kramer from first base. Indianapolis left fielder Chris Bostick launched a solo homer to right field off of reliever Jhan Marinez in the eighth to jump start a four-run inning and cement the Indians’ lead. Tides DH Drew Dosch lined a double into left-center field to continue his hot streak, having now hit safely in nine of his last ten games. Norfolk reliever Jason Gurka exited the game in the eighth inning with an apparent groin injury after throwing three innings.

RISING TIDE: TOP POSITION PLAYER OF THE SERIES

Drew Dosch, 3B/DH: 12 AB, 4 H, 3 2B, 2 R, 1 BB

Dosch, the Orioles’ seventh-round draft pick in 2013 out of Youngstown State, maintained his torrid hitting pace during the series against the Indians. The left-handed swinging Dosch’s 10 doubles in 2018 places him fifth in the International League in that category despite having played in just 22 of the Tides’ 37 games.

He hit in the middle of the batting order in all three games, playing third base in Wednesday’s contest and then serving as the designated hitter to accommodate newly-acquired third baseman Renato Nunez in the final two games of the series. Manager Ron Johnson noted on the radio pregame show that he hopes to occasionally use Dosch, who has been a third baseman throughout his minor league career, at first base moving forward.

RISING TIDE: TOP PITCHER OF THE SERIES

Yefry Ramirez, RHP: 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 K, 1 H, 0 BB

Ramirez, the Orioles’ number 17 prospect, dominated over seven innings on Wednesday night and gave much-needed rest to the Norfolk bullpen. He allowed only one hit, a first inning infield single to the red-hot Kevin Newman, and struck out seven hitters. Ramirez faced only two matters over the minimum and worked both sides of the plate with a fastball in the low 90’s and a mid-80’s slider. He also made an impressive play in the first inning, quickly getting off of the mound to foil a drag bunt attempt from left fielder Chris Bostick. Ramirez needed just 81 pitches to get through seven innings, throwing 54 strikes in the process. The Orioles acquired the 24-year old Ramirez from the New York Yankees at last year’s trade deadline in exchange for international signing bonus money.

UP NEXT FOR THE TIDES

The Tides welcome the Louisville Bats, the AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, to Harbor Park for a three-game weekend series starting Friday night. The Bats feature the No. 6 prospect in all of Minor League Baseball in infielder Nick Senzel but come to Norfolk with the worst record in the International League. The Tides will send Tim Melville (5-0, 2.97 ERA) to the mound on Friday against the Bats’ Robert Stephenson (2-4, 3.93). Following the series with the Bats, the team will begin an eight-game road trip to play the Charlotte Knights and Toledo Mud Hens.

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The Orioles are Still Going to Screw This Up Somehow

Despite their recent “successful” home stand, in which they went 5-3 – a nice positive turn for them, mediocre for any true contender – the Orioles of 2018 are still a lost cause. They’re a woeful 13-30, and their road record is the stuff of nightmares: 3-17, losers of 13 straight, and they’ve yet to win a game in any park other than Camden Yards or Yankee Stadium so far this season (0-16 everywhere else).

Just truly, remarkably awful. The 13 straight road losses ties a franchise-worst, set back in – you guessed it – 1988. Even after finally winning a few games and getting back to a non-historically-awful pace, good ol’ 1988 just keeps popping up. That should be all you need to realize that this isn’t just a run-of-the-mill bad season.

Still, that could actually be a positive thing in the long-term, right? Prior to the season, many of us considered the worst-case scenario for this team to be hanging around .500 as the trade deadline approached, within striking distance of that second wild card spot. In that scenario, we knew it would be likely the team would choose not to trade away any of their assets with an eye to the future, but instead trade one of their few prospects for another band-aid Gerardo Parra/Scott Feldman-type player in an attempt to “go for it” one last time.

This team, thanks to being so, so bad, will have no similar illusions. Perhaps we can get this much-needed rebuild kick-started after all, yes? While Manny Machado won’t have nearly the value he did last year, or even an offseason or two ago, he could still bring back some potentially useful young, controllable pieces from a contender in need of a spark. Same goes for Brad Brach, and potentially even Zach Britton and/or Adam Jones. Guys like Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy should perhaps also be on the block, depending on your outlook.

Here’s the piece we all seem to be forgetting – willfully or not – though: this is still the Orioles we’re talking about here. Whatever they end up doing has about a 50/50 chance of making any damn sense at all.

Check out these quotes from Dan Duquette, via MLB’s Daniel Kramer:

“If you’re going to revamp your club and get better for the future, as an organization, you might want to take a look at all the options and players that are valuable to you who might be more valuable in the trade market,” Duquette said. “I don’t know. We haven’t really made that determination. That’s another consideration.

“The other consideration is: What if Manny Machado is having an MVP season and he’s on his way to the Triple Crown? Is that a player that a club wants to trade? Even though their season may not be a championship season this year? So, there’s a lot of different questions for the organization to answer, but it’s really about timing. How many good players can you have together at the same time? And can you keep them together for a period of time to give yourself a chance to go again for the playoffs?”

Matt Kremnitzer of Camden Depot tweeted out a portion of those quotes, eliciting this response from one fan:

That’s certainly a fair take, given what we fans know about the way things work in The Warehouse. Still, most recent rumblings are that ol’ Pete has, for whatever reason, taken a back seat as far as the baseball team goes. Maybe his sons, Lou and/or John, would veto such a trade in Pete’s stead. Or maybe not.

Even if you take Duquette’s comments as just more blabber from a lame-duck GM, or if you really give him the benefit of the doubt and think he’s adroitly playing a game of “don’t tip my hand,” none of that suddenly makes him a skillful negotiator with overarching decision-making power and vision for the Orioles’ future.

We really don’t know who is making the decisions these days, and there have been no fewer than three big pieces recently around the web about the O’s internal dysfunction and just how screwed they seem to be at the moment and going forward.

In case you missed them:

The Boston Globe: How the Orioles Became the Most Dysfunctional Organization in Baseball

Camden Depot: Welcome to the Abyss

Orioles Hangout: The Orioles’ Game of Thrones and the Way Forward

The bottom line here is that this is STILL the Orioles we’re talking about. Nobody knows who is making the final calls, or what their motivation for said calls will be. Are Angelos & Sons just trying to keep getting OPACY 1/4 filled for the rest of 2018? If so, maybe keeping a guy on his way to a Triple Crown makes sense, in a ridiculous sorta way.

Does Dan Duquette give a damn about the Orioles’ future? He very likely isn’t going to be a part of it, so really…why should he? Even if he was, do you trust him to be the one in charge of making trades to get a rebuild started? If the answer is “no” (understandable), what about the others who ostensibly have decision-making authority. Do you trust Brady Anderson to deal with the Theo Epsteins of the world? Can Buck Showalter be trusted to evaluate potential prospect acquisitions in addition to his current on-field duties?

As for me, I’ll put it this way:

I wish I could end on some sort of hopeful note here. But you’re all smarter than that. I’ll just join you in watching this train wreck, hoping for some semblance of light to appear at the end of the tunnel. Or, as Jon Shepherd put it, at the bottom of the abyss.

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Series Preview: Orioles (13-29) @ Red Sox (29-14)

A shot from inside Fenway Park during a game.

After concluding their eight-game home stand with a 4-1 loss against the Phillies, the Orioles are set to kick off an eleven-game road trip by taking on the Red Sox for a four-game set at Fenway.

The Orioles (13-29) have been in solid form with a 5-2 record over their last seven games, but they’ll be looking to end their misery on the road this season during their upcoming three-legged stint away from Camden Yards. They’ve gone just 3-16 and have lost twelve straight while on tour as they head up to Boston.

The Red Sox (29-14) have cooled down considerably as of late. After starting the season with a sparkling 21-7 record through April, they’ve gone 8-7 thus far in May and trail the Yankees by half a game for first place in the AL East.

Kevin Gausman (3-2, 3.18 ERA) will take on David Price (3-4, 4.89 ERA) in tonight’s series opener.

Gausman has been in excellent form this season, and after holding the Rays to two runs over 7 1/3 innings in his latest winning effort, he’s now allowed just two runs over 16 1/3 innings through two starts in May. Over his last five outings, Gausman has posted a 2-1 record and a stellar 1.75 ERA over 36 innings of work.

Price earned the win after holding the Blue Jays to two runs over 5 1/3 innings during his last start, and he and the Red Sox will be hoping this is a sign of a turnaround. He had allowed 16 earned runs over 17 innings in the three starts prior to his last.

Alex Cobb (0-5, 7.06 ERA) will take the mound against Drew Pomeranz (1-1, 5.47 ERA) on Friday.

Cobb took the loss in his last start against the Rays after allowing three runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings, and is still on the hunt for his first win as an Oriole. However, he has shook off his nightmare start to the season by posting a stout 3.06 ERA over his last 17 2/3 innings.

Pomeranz made an early exit during his last start after allowing three runs on five hits over four innings against Toronto, and will be looking to return to form against Baltimore. He had posted two straight quality starts and gave up just five runs over 12 innings prior to his start versus the Blue Jays.

Dylan Bundy (2-5, 4.53 ERA) will match-up against Rick Porcello (5-1, 3.28 ERA) on Saturday.

Bundy was superb during his latest outing against the Rays and allowed just two hits over seven shutout innings as he cruised to his second win of the season. Bundy will be hoping for more of the same after getting tagged in each of his three starts prior to his last. During that span, he had allowed a whopping 19 runs over just nine innings of work.

Porcello took the loss after giving up five runs over six innings during his last start in Oakland, and will be looking to avoid a third straight off-key start. He’s allowed 10 runs over his last 11 1/3 innings of work. Prior to his recent struggles, Porcello went 5-0 with an outstanding 2.14 ERA over his first seven starts of the season.

The Orioles haven’t named a starter to go against Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1, 4.68 ERA) in the series finale on Sunday.

Will it be David Hess? Miguel Castro? Or the people’s champ, Richard Bleier? Stay tuned.

Rodriguez took his first loss of the season after giving up three runs over five innings against Oakland. He’s now winless through three starts in May after going 3-0 during the month of April.

 

Notes

Adam Jones carries an 11-game hit streak into Boston. During that span, he’s gone 15-for-44 at the plate with three home runs and five RBI.

Trey Mancini has gone 9-for-26 with eight runs, three homers and six RBI over his last seven games.

Manny Machado has gone 9-for-28 with eight runs, four homers and eleven RBI over his last seven contests.

Mookie Betts continues to light the world on fire for the Red Sox. During the month of May, he’s gone 22-for-60 at the plate with five doubles, five homers and ten RBI.

– J.D. Martinez is also in red-hot form at the moment. Through fifteen games in May, he’s gone 21-for-59 with three doubles, seven home runs and fourteen RBI.

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Thursday’s O’s Links: Miguel Castro Should Still Get a Start or Two

Miguel Castro throws in Sarasota.

After a washout on Tuesday, the O’s lost a nooner on Wednesday to Philadelphia to finish up their first successful homestand of the year at 5-3. They now head off on an 11-game road trip, a terrifying prospect to any O’s fan. The Birds have lost 12 straight road games, and are a woeful 3-16 away from Camden Yards, with those only three wins coming at Yankee Stadium nearly six weeks ago.

What would constitute a “successful” road trip for this team? 3-8? 4-7? Sad state of affairs. Hopefully they surprise us all.

To the links.

Is Manny Machado a Legitimate MVP Candidate?

Our own Andrew Stetka joined the Locked on Orioles podcast with Justin McGuire to talk about Manny Machado’s MVP case…specifically, if he were to get traded and help his new team get into the playoffs. Andrew & Justin also discuss Gregg Olson’s stint in the broadcast booth, which Andrew mentioned in today’s Thursday Thoughts.

Is it Already Time to Sit Chris Davis More?

Need more bad news about Chris Davis? He homered in back-to-back games recently, and hit a double yesterday, but there has been no consistency. Certainly not nearly enough to get his numbers up to a respectable – and, as Matt Kremnitzer of Camden Depot points out NOT HISTORICALLY BAD level. Damn it all, man.

Triggering “Miguel Castro Starting Experiment” Makes Sense

Did you realize that Miguel Castro is younger than Hunter Harvey? That raised my eyebrows, honestly. Anyway, Dan Connolly says Castro should get a chance to be a starter at some point in this very likely lost season.

Looking on the Bright Side: Jonathan Schoop is Healthy & Has Improved

Over at Baltimore Sports Report, Connor Guercio is taking on the herculean task of trying to find silver linings to this Orioles season. In this edition, he says that Jonathan Schoop is on his way to yet again being Dope, and thanks to Robinson Cano doing some Dope, he could even sneak his way onto the All-Star team again.

Is Brad Brach Really This Bad?

Ben Palmer of the Baltimore Wire digs into Brad Brach’s struggles to start 2018, concluding that it’s a lack of fastball command that’s really been the culprit. Here’s to Brach finding that command and showing that he can be the lock-down arm that he has been over the past few seasons. We just need about a month-plus of additional sample size there to make him a nice little trade chip.

 

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Thursday Thoughts: Otter Impressive in Broadcast Booth

Gregg Olson and Joe Angel in the O's booth.

This is a weekly column that dives into some random thoughts about the Orioles/MLB. I used to do eight as a nod to Cal Ripken Jr. As of last year, I cut it down to four or five, so consider it the Earl Weaver/€“Brooks Robinson era of Thursday Thoughts. – A.S.

1. The Orioles got a decent peek at what the bottom of their rotation could look like this past Saturday when David Hess started the first game of a doubleheader. The 24-year-old coughed up a three-run homer in the first inning, but was able to battle back and post five scoreless frames after that. He earned a win in his first big-league start. Hess was promptly sent back down to Norfolk after the game, but remains a candidate for the rotation going forward.

The other candidate is Miguel Castro, who has pitched entirely out of the bullpen. He was slated to start yesterday’s game prior to Tuesday’s rainout. Castro was pushed to the bullpen this spring after competing for a rotation spot in Sarasota.

Regardless of who takes over in the rotation, one thing is clear – they should be taking it over for a while. Chris Tillman has landed on the disabled list with one of those injuries that you don’t really believe is an injury. It’s a case of “underperformance” mixed with a lower back strain.

Much has been written about Tillman this past week that doesn’t need to be rehashed. He has been a great contributor to the Orioles for many years, but that time has got to be over. His performance, or lack of, is simply not good enough to justify keeping him on the team any longer.

2. As the Orioles continue to flounder in the basement of the AL East, even a mile away from Wild Card contention, I’m reminded of how close we now are to Memorial Day. That’s when the organization, and specifically executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, stated they would re-evaluate where they are as a team.

Everyone else has known for a while now that they are going nowhere fast in 2018.

The time to make massive changes is here. In fact, some would say it’s beyond that time. Memorial Day is just over a week away, and those changes could (should) come soon after that.

I’m not saying the Orioles will be making massive trades by June 1, but I would want them to at least declare some type of plan. That’s been my biggest issue all along. The Orioles have zero direction or plan for the future, at least not one they’ve stated publicly. They don’t need to reveal all of their cards, but they need to give fans some hope for the future. They need to determine who is making decisions and what direction the franchise is headed.

If Duquette isn’t coming back next season, they need to make that known. If Buck Showalter isn’t returning as manager, they also need to make that known.

All of this needs to happen right around Memorial Day, or an already restless fanbase will be driven mad.

3. I heard an awful lot of people whining about Tuesday night’s postponement, and while I have some sympathy for fans who waited three hours in the rain only to be told there would be no game, the complaints have also gone too far. So many people are blaming the Orioles for the situation, as if they control the weather.

Sure, the team probably knew the chances of getting the game in were small, but they still had to try. There are a lot of moving parts involved in a baseball season, especially with an interleague game. I don’t blame the O’s for trying to get the game in. I understand there were fans who had to pay for parking and concessions and things of that nature without getting to see a game. And I do believe fans should somehow be reimbursed if they paid to park on the stadium lot.

But what no one else wants to mention is that fans have basically the same information in terms of a weather forecast that everyone else does. If they didn’t think a game was going to be played, they didn’t have to trek to the stadium to wait around. If you had a ticket to Tuesday’s game and didn’t go down because of the weather, you still have a valid ticket for the makeup game. There’s always a chance of a delay or postponement when you go to a baseball game. These things aren’t controlled by one team or even the league.

Blaming those organizations, instead of mother nature, just seems fruitless.

4. A few weeks ago, I wrote about my experience listening to a radio broadcast of a game in Detroit that was called by regular O’s play-by-play voice Joe Angel, with color commentary done by Brian Roberts. Being that yesterday’s game was also an afternoon affair, I had another opportunity to listen to the game on radio, rather than my usual habit of watching on television. It also gave me another chance to hear a former Oriole in the booth.

Orioles Hall of Famer Gregg Olson was alongside Angel for the game, and like Roberts, was a joy to listen to. Olson provided the right amount of “homerism” for a local broadcast while also being fair and critical when necessary. He also did a nice job of providing context on pitch selection and situational pitching, as you’d expect from a former big league arm.

Like Roberts, Olson was also a bit unpolished as a traditional “broadcaster,” but that’s exactly what you’d expect from someone who isn’t a…traditional broadcaster. He came off as an informed ex-player that knew where the focus of the game should go with each inning.

I really enjoy the option to listen to radio broadcasts during weekday games when I can’t be in front of a TV. The Orioles are doing a good job of bringing back former players like Olson, Roberts, and Ben McDonald to mix things up and give the broadcast some different flavor.

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Lee Struggles as Indy Nips Tides, 10-8

Chris Lee finishes his motion.

A late comeback attempt from the Tides fell just short on Tuesday night, as they were defeated by the Indianapolis Indians (the Pittsburgh Pirates’ AAA affiliate) 10-8. A 10-run second inning doomed Norfolk starting pitcher Chris Lee, who exited after 1.2 innings pitched having given up seven runs (four earned).

Reliever Jhan Marinez gave up three runs in 3.1 innings of relief, though none were earned. The Tides scored eight unanswered runs between the 3rd and 7th innings, but failed to push home any more in the 8th or 9th. Center fielder Mike Yastrzemski went 3-4 and finished a home run shy of the cycle in his 2018 Tides debut after a promotion from AA Bowie. Third baseman Drew Dosch had three hits, including a pair of doubles.

 

TUESDAY’S TIDES PLAYERS OF NOTE

Chris Lee, LHP

Lee showcased a fastball with good sinking action, which sat 88-89 mph and occasionally touched 91 as well as a slider that sat in the low-to-mid 80’s. He works quickly with an athletic delivery and uses a deceptive leg kick out of the stretch. Lee struggled to keep his sinker and off-speed pitches down in the zone, walking three batters and hitting another. He appeared comfortable using his off-speed in disadvantage counts, even throwing a 3-0 changeup at one point.

Lee is rated the Orioles’ No. 12 prospect by MLB.com.

Mike Yastrzemski, OF

Yastrzemski had three hits and a walk in his first game with the Tides in 2018, finishing a home run shy of the cycle. The Indians utilized a traditional infield shift on the left-handed hitting Yastrzemski (as well as on teammate Alex Presley) with nobody on base. He showed plus speed on the basepaths and got two good jumps from first base on attempted hit and runs (one was fouled away and the other was a lazy fly ball to left field). The Orioles drafted Yastrzemski, the grandson of Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski, in 2014 out of Vanderbilt University.

Drew Dosch, 3B

Dosch, Norfolk’s 2018 team leader in doubles, hit two more on Tuesday night and also added in a single. Drafted out of Youngstown State by the Orioles during the 7th round of the 2013 draft, he hits significantly better against right-handed pitching than against southpaws. Dosch’s combined 39 doubles in 2017 at Norfolk and AA Bowie ranked 7th in all of Minor League Baseball.

Joely Rodriguez, LHP

Rodriguez worked four scoreless innings in relief of Jhan Marinez, retiring the first eleven batters he faced. His fastball consistently sat between 92-94 mph during all four innings (touching 96) and he effectively mixed in a sweeping curveball at 82-83 mph to left-handed batters and a cutter/slider to righties at 89 mph. The 26-year-old Rodriguez was originally signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Pirates in 2009 and spent time in the major leagues with the Phillies in 2016 and 2017.

 

NEXT UP FOR THE TIDES

6:35 p.m. Wednesday, 5/16 vs. Indianapolis

Probable Pitchers:

IND: J.T. Brubaker (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

NOR: Yefry Ramirez (1-2, 4.54 ERA)*

*Rated the Orioles’ No. 17 prospect by MLB.com

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Tuesday’s O’s Links: Winning – More Fun than Losing

Manny Machado swings in the on-deck circle.

For what seems like the first time all season, we’ve actually had some fun baseball to watch since the last time we spoke here. Definitely at least since the four-game set in the Bronx in early April, right? The Birds took three of four over three days against the Tampa Bay Rays, capped with a Mother’s Day Massacre of their own, a 17-1 thrashing on Sunday. After taking the final two against KC in the previous series, the O’s have now won five of their last six contests, something they hadn’t accomplished since last August.

Whether or not they can keep it rolling – and whether or not we should really hope that they do – remains to be seen. For now, at least, it was a very welcome change.

To the links!

Bird’s Eye View Episode 237: 5-6-7-8

As they do every May, Jake & Scott hand the mics over to their lovely wives for a segment this week. They also dip into the question I hinted at above, about a good week of baseball actually being bad for this organization.

David Hess was Fine, and that’s a Good Thing

David Hess made his MLB debut on Saturday, allowing a three-run home run in the first inning before setting down and shutting Tampa down over the remainder of his six innings. Camden Depot’s Matt Kremnitzer says that it sure would be nice if one of these number-five-ish type starting pitcher candidates could actually stick as such, instead of forcing a move to the bullpen with poor performance.

Gausman Prioritizing Precision Over Power in Early Season Success

Kevin Gausman has been really good, in case you haven’t noticed (you’d be forgiven if you haven’t. Most haven’t been paying close enough attention lately to notice anything except all the L’s piling up.) Tyler Young of Camden Chat goes into the way Kevin has eschewed being “The Gas Man,” in favor of being “The Off-Speed Man” (doesn’t quite roll off the tongue the same way, does it?) Unfortunately, all I can think is how this is upping his trade value, not how he’s finally becoming an Orioles Ace. Le sigh.

Bundy Feels He’s Found the Fix

Speaking of potential Orioles Aces. Dylan Bundy, huh? After a historically awful start against KC (that followed a string of several very bad and very un-Bundy starts), Dylan was back to Dealin’ against Tampa Bay on Sunday, throwing seven innings of shutout ball. What changed? He wouldn’t really go into specifics, but Jon Meoli has some quotes anyway.

It’s Time to Find Manny Machado a New Home

Sorry to end on a sour note, but here we are. Brandon Warne lists potential Manny suitors for Baltimore Sports & Life, and there are plenty. Listen – if you’re still wearing the thickest orange shades possible, and you really think the O’s have a shot at re-signing Machado, you should STILL want them to trade him in-season this year. He’ll be a free agent anyway. If he really wants to keep playing in Baltimore, and if the Orioles really think they can find the funds to pay him to do so, then he can put pen to paper and be a Bird in 2019 and beyond starting this winter. Wouldn’t he be more inclined to do so if the O’s farm system weren’t nearly as destitute as it currently is?

Trade the Manny. It’s time. Even though…

Cue the Sarah McLaughlin…

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