Baltimore Orioles: Do you just take what you can get?

Earlier this week we heard that the Baltimore Orioles were seeing that the trade market around closer Zach Britton wasn’t exactly forming up the way that the Birds thought it would. Translated, that means the Orioles aren’t getting the offers they feel Britton’s worth. So the question at hand is what do the Orioles do – lower the price or stand firm?

First off, how do I know that teams aren’t offering up with Dan Duquette wants in return? Am I privy to those conversations? Of course not. But…is it possible that teams truly just aren’t interested? Sure, I suppose it’s always possible. But…

…Britton’s saved 55 straight games. There’s no question that he’s the best closer in baseball right now, and has been for the past 2-3 years. Are you really telling me that there’s no market for this guy? There’s nobody out there that’s interested? Now really, does that make sense?!

I didn’t think so. Thus, teams are trying to play hardball with the Orioles. There might also be one other factor at play. In the past week two major starters in the NL have gone on the DL in Strasburg and Kershaw. The L.A. Dodgers were one of the teams that were heavy into Britton. It’s possible that their needs have now changed, as perhaps they look to pick up an additional starter as well.

However that aside, the question is whether or not the Orioles are actually the ones being unreasonable. Keep in mind that the trade deadline is Monday at 4 PM. So there will be a flurry of activity this weekend, as well as Monday.

Without actually knowing, odds are that the negotiations with teams is going as follows: Duquette’s asking for ABC and telling teams that Britton’s the best closer in baseball, 55 straight saves, etc. Teams are saying we don’t want to give anything more up than CBA for a guy who only pitches one inning. And in fact that could be a somwhat fair point – for a pedestrian closer, that is.

A lot of fans have told me that you get whatever you can get for players. So in theory that means that you yourself are undervaluing your players if you take that view. This sounds a bit out there, but what if the best you can do is a low level single-A prospect? Are you really willing to trade the best closer in baseball for that?

Teams are going to try to get your players for as cheaply as they can. It’s up to you to make sure that they aren’t getting undervalued. Again, I say that it doesn’t pay for the Orioles to trade Britton or anyone if they aren’t getting a haul in return.

The Orioles are in Texas this evening to open up a three-game set. Chris Tillman heads to the mound for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Andrew Cashner. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles waste Ubaldo Jimenez’s quality start

Ubaldo Jimenez gave the Baltimore Orioles a quality start yesterday afternoon in Tampa. Yet he ended up what they all a hard luck loser. That’s a situation in which Jimenez hasn’t found himself often, but it happened yesterday. In essence, Jimenez threw a couple of bad pitches, and lost the game. Jimenez’s line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 K.

The nine strikeouts is really impressive. And in fact, Jimenez was incredibly crisp out on the mound yesterday. And that wasn’t lost on manager Buck Showalter (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Ubaldo did his part, too. That was impressive. Got off to a little bit of a rocky start. He was 3-2 on the first, it seemed like, four or five hitters, and all of a sudden really was able to use his pitches. Played good defense behind him, too.

The Orioles took the lead in the game in the fourth inning on a homer by Schoop. But that only lasted for two innings, as Longoria smacked a two-run shot in the sixth. And that came on a pitch that split the plate, and Longoria jumped on it. Souza would add a solo homer in the seventh, which was the last run Jimenez gave up.

Tampa would also add on an RBI-single by Morrison in the eighth, and they’d score again later in the inning when Souza grounded into a force out which yielded a run. But with the exception of the Schoop homer, Oriole bats remained silent on this day. And that’s sad because they wasted an incredible outing by the constantly beleaguered Ubaldo Jimenez.

All you have to do is look at his stat line and see nine strikeouts to know that Jimenez was dealing yesterday. And it’s really a shame that as well as he pitched, the bats couldn’t propel him to victory. Hopefully for his sake he has a better fate next time out.

After the very early game, the fact that the trade market on the likes of Zach Britton hasn’t developed as the Orioles expected. Translated, this means that teams feel the Orioles are asking too much. Buck Showalter has said on numerous occasions that they aren’t ever going to allow other teams to de-value their players.

I’ve said this before, but there’s a mentality out there amongst a lot of people which says just get whatever you can for [insert player name]. That’s an incredibly dangerous way of looking at trades, because if the Orioles made it known that they’d expect nothing more than a single-A prospect for Britton, do we think that the market would continue to be slow?

Am I suggesting that the Orioles continue to play hardball? Yes, I am. Their attitude should be if you want our player(s) you’re going to pay our price. In the mean time, the Birds have an off day today in Texas. For their sake, I hope they use it wisely!

Baltimore Orioles: Only as good as your next day’s starter

The Baltimore Orioles and every other MLB team is only as good as their next day’s starter. In last night’s case, that was Wade Miley. And last night Miley wasn’t very good – in one inning. And that’s all it took. Miley’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Out of six innings pitched, Miley struggled in the second. But he struggle just enough to where Tampa pounced. And that’s all it took. Tampa used three singles in the second inning to load the bases with one out. They then got on the board with an RBI-single by Smith, and a sac fly-RBI by Sucre.

The death blow however was a three-run homer by Beckham, which busted the game wide open at 5-0. However Miley settled down after that. But the damage was done. Although, the Orioles were able to make a game of it.

They got on the board in the fifth on a sac fly-RBI by Machado. One inning later Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer, and suddenly the Birds were within three at 5-2. In the eighth Welington Castillo‘s two-RBI single brought the Orioles to within one at 5-4.

The O’s had the tying run at third in the ninth inning, but were unable to capitalize. And while it begins and ends with starting pitching, the Orioles also left nine on base – many of which were in scoring position. You have to capitalize when you get guys on base.

And that’s really how Tampa won this game. They got a boat load of guys on base in that second inning, and they were able to bring them home. Now in fairness the Orioles did capitalize on soe guys on base later in the game. They just didn’t do it enough times to win.

Save for that one inning, the Birds seemed to hold Tampa in Check fairly well. But that also shows you that all it really takes is a couple of misplaced pitches or even bad bounces to lose games. With the exception of that second inning, Miley probably pitched well enough for the Orioles to win the game.

But that’s a tough sell because you can’t just remove the second inning from the conversation. That’s not really how it works. All you can really do is move forward into this afternoon’s series finale and try to take two-of-three.

The aforementioned series finale is early this afternoon at Tropicana Field. Ubaldo Jimenez will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Alex Cobb. Game time is set for just after 12 PM.

Baltimore Orioles straighten themselves out at the Trop

Manny Machado‘s glove was a key part of the Baltimore Orioles’ win last night in Tampa. More on that in a moment. But it all begins and ends with starting pitching, right? If in fact, Kevin Gausman set the tone last night early on. Gausman’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K.

Gausman once again gave the Orioles a quality start, in a series that’s of dire importance to both the Orioles at Tampa. The pitching seems to be getting marginally better. It’s still not great, but it’s getting better.

Machado made a key play in the last of the first to end the inning, starting a double-play. He made a similar play to end the fifth inning, and in both cases that helped to keep Tampa off the scoreboard. Make no mistake about the fact that if not for those two plays, the Orioles might not have won this game.

The Birds got on the scoreboard in the top of the third when Adam Jones smacked a solo homer to left. And that run stood up for the Orioles through Gausman’s tenure in the game, along with those of the rest of the pitchers used. The O’s of course added to that lead eventually multiply.

The O’s would load the bases in the eighth, and Machado smacked a two-RBI single up the middle into center field. That opened up a 3-0 Orioles’ lead, but they weren’t quite done. Schoop would add a sac fly-RBI before the inning ended, and Castillo would score on a throwing error in the ninth. This allowed the O’s to cruise to an eventual 5-0 victory.

The Birds were finally able to put it all together in this game. They got a dominant outing out of their starter, the bats came through in the clutch, and the Orioles’ bullpen held things down come the latter innings. While I suspect that they envisioned a bit more power ruling the day, the fact is that the Birds put runs up behind a dominant pitching performance, and held the lead.

And yes, that’s what you want. This Tampa team is one against whom the Orioles have had some success this year. With the win last night, the Orioles improve to 6-4 on the season against this team. You have to start somewhere when it comes to scratching your way back into the race.

The series continues this evening at Tropicana Field. Wade Miley gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jacob Faria. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles finally able to outlast Houston

Houston’s a team that’s given the Baltimore Orioles fits over several years. Keep in mind that coming into yesterday’s game, the Birds had lost eight straight to Houston, meaning that Zach Britton rarely saw the field when the team would play. They’re a pesky team, and they simply don’t take no for an answer.

Dylan Bundy came within a few pitches of having a good outing yesterday, but he was done in by two three-run homers. Bundy’s line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Luckily the Orioles gave him a lead yesterday as opposed to the team having to play catch-up. The O’s loaded the bases with nobody out in the second, and Kim was subsequently hit by a pitch. Tejada would later ground into a double-play which scored another run, and the Birds led 2-0. A Jones RBI-single would run it to 3-0.

So you felt that the O’s were looking strong on this Sunday afternoon, and in fact they were. However again, Houston simply doesn’t take no for an answer. They refuse to accept that you scored three runs and that they’re now three down. Altuve smacked a three-run homer in the third which immediately tied the game.

However it wasn’t tied for long. Mancini’s RBI-single in the bottom of that third inning gave the Orioles the lead back at 4-3. One inning later Davis’ sac fly-RBI and an RBI-double again by Mancini gave the O’s their three-run lead back at 6-3. Houston wasn’t capable of coming back again though – were they?

Of course they were. Because they don’t take no for an answer. Aoki smacked a three-run homer in the sixth to tie the game up, eventually helping to chase Bundy – who was two outs from a quality start. Instead he gave up seven runs, the seventh of which crossed after he left the game. That run crossed on Reddick’s sac fly-RBI, as Houston took the lead at 7-6.

The Orioles felt that they had put the death blow on Houston twice over. Yet they came back. However trailing briefly by that one run felt insurmountable. Where as the Orioles were hoping something good was going to happen, Houston somehow was finding a way to go out and make it happen. But for once, that sort of spunk wasn’t going to cut it.

Mark Trumbo sent a ball high and deep to left field in the last of the seventh. It was really a matter of whether or not it would stay fair – and it did! His solo homer tied the game back up at seven, and put the wind back in the Orioles’ sails. One inning later, they had the lead back for good on a Machado sac fly-RBI. Schoop would add an RBI-single, and the O’s ended up with a 9-7 victory.

The Orioles were at their wits end with this team. Luckily Britton shut them down in the ninth, knotching his 55th consecutive save converted. But Houston’s a good team, and from top to bottom there’s very little give in their lineup. The O’s dropped the series, however that was a big team win yesterday and one from which they hope they can bring the momentum forward.

The O’s now hit the road and travel to Tampa for a three-game set. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Blake Snell. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles’ relievers hurting their trade stock?

I’m on record as saying it might not be a bad idea for the Baltimore Orioles to sell off a couple of bullpen arms to get prospects in return. They could probably get a decent haul for the likes of Darren O’DayZach Britton, or Brad Brach. And if there’s one spot they do have depth, it’s in the ‘pen. In other words, they wouldn’t be leaving the cabinet bare.

However Britton gave up two runs in the ninth inning on Thursday, and O’Day blew a save last night. This on the heels of a second consecutive solid start by Chris Tillman, who’s slowly progressing back to what he should be. Tillman’s line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 5 K.

Following a one hour rain delay, the Orioles and Houston engaged in a pitcher’s duel. Unfortunately for Tillman and the Birds, Houston struck first – as well as last. Bregman’s solo homer in the fifth gave them a 1-0 lead. However come the last of that fifth inning, Adam Jones smacked a two-run homer and the Orioles suddenly led 2-1. That was followed up by a two-run homer off the bat of Schoop, and the Birds appeared in the driver’s seat.

But Houston is relentless, and the Orioles should know that. Gurriel ended up with a two-run homer that was reviewed by the umpires in the sixth. They ruled that the ball had in fact gone over the scoreboard in right field, and that cut the lead to 4-3. That also brought O’Day into the game in place of Tillman.

O’Day gave up two seemingly innocent and softly-hit singles, bringing Houston’s Moran to the plate. Moran ended up fouling a ball off his eye, and had to be taken off on a cart after a lengthy delay – after which O’Day wasn’t really the same. Gonzalez finished the at-bat, and ended up smacking  three-run homer to give Houston a 6-4 lead. They would add an RBI-single and a sac fly-RBI in the ninth to cruise to an 8-4 victory.

First off, the means are usually the same with the Orioles. A team gets a soft base hit or a walk, and it snowballs from there. Teams such as Houston don’t do business the way that AL East teams do. They don’t look to power you out of the ballpark. They see each base runner as a precious commodity, and they know they have a shot at getting a run each time someone gets on base. The Orioles need to start minimizing that type of damage.

But as I said above, are the O’s risking trade values? All relievers and quite frankly all players are going to have bad days. So you have to look at it from the perspective of their overall track record. However teams are going to do whatever they possibly can to lower the price.

If that means calling into question someone’s most recent outing and trying to argue that means more than a track record assumed over years of play, that’s what they’re going to do. The trade deadline is one week from tomorrow. So with that said and with the team heading out on the road after today’s game, someone might be appearing for the last time as an Oriole at Camden Yards today.

The Birds will try to salvage one game with Houston in this afternoon’s series finale. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Lance McCullers. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles almost able to come back

Ubaldo Jimenez was unable to keep the Baltimore Orioles in last night’s game early on. However I will say that he probably pitched better than his stat line indicates. He threw strike one to 12 of the first 15 hitters. But the fact is that he wasn’t as crisp as he needed to be. Jimenez’s line: 5.1 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

Jimenez surrendered a run almost right off the bat on Beltran’s RBI-single. However just a moment later Gurriel’s two-run homer made the score 3-0. And part of why I say that Jimenez wasn’t as bad as advertised was that one of the base hits that led to that homer was a softly hit single. When you’re barely putting the bat on the ball and still succeeding, that’s called getting lucky.

Houston would add an RBI-triple in the second, and Altuve would ground out into another run. And thus while the crowd still was filing in, the O’s trailed 2-0. But they did get a run back an inning later on a Schoop RBI-single, although Houston immediately got that run back on a McCann solo homer. Before all was said and done, Houston led 8-1.

But the Orioles made an incredibly valiant, albeit very late comeback attempt. Trumbo’s RBI-single in the eighth cut the lead to 8-2. Jones would follow with a two-RBI double, and Schoop a three-run homer. Before we knew it, the Birds only trailed 8-7.

But that’s as close as they got. And once again, it highlights the need for starting pitching. Granted Jimenez didn’t give up eight runs. However he set the tone. And that’s what starting pitching is all about.

And keep in mind that this game ended up a one-run game. In one of the RBI plays Houston turned in above, Rickard dove for a ball in the outfield. The ball got by him (under his glove), and went all the way to the wall. It was a valiant effort by Rickard, however an extra run scored.

All things being equal, the game would have been tied. And it’s little things like that which are valued immensely by a team like Houston. The Orioles don’t look at one run as being any sort of a big deal, because of their power – which we saw at the end of the game last night. But Houston treats every single run as a precious commodity.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Chris Tillman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Collin McHugh. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.