Baltimore Orioles foiled by homer parade

It’s rare when the Baltimore Orioles can’t keep up with home runs. But it happened last night. As I said, it’s rare – not unprecedented. Kevin Gausman didn’t have his “good stuff,” although when it gets hot and humid the ball does of course fly out of Camden Yards. Gausman’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 3 K.

The damage began in the first inning right off the bat. Guasman surrendered a solo shot to Trout, and the Orioles trailed 1-0. Now the one thing you can say about Gausman last night is that at the very least he only gave up solo shots and two-run homers. They say however that solo home runs aren’t going to hurt you per se. That’s true – so long as you don’t give up several of them.

In fairness to Gausman, the Orioles couldn’t muster much as the plate. Anaheim’s Ramirez really shut them down. Their one run came in the last of the first when Tim Beckham scored on a wild pitch. Yes, folks…Beckham was on base again. It’s really amazing the impact this guy has made since coming to the O’s, and thus far he’s looking like a great acquisition.

It also shows how good things can happen when you get guys on base. I’m a firm believer in winning games primarily with power  which is what Anaheim of course did. So in a sense, singles don’t mean as much in the moment. But when guys get on base you just never know what’s going to happen. A wild pitch or a pass ball can get him into scoring position, or in this case score him from third.

One inning later however, Anaheim had the lead back for good on a solo homer by Valbuena. Trout would smack a second home run in the third (another solo shot), as would Valbuena in the fourth – this one of the two-run variety. And that’s your ballgame. While the home run parade got to Gausman, the Orioles couldn’t put any further runs across to make a game of it.

So while Gausman was off, it’s tough to point at him and say that allowing all of those homers lost the game for the team. Every win and every loss is always a team effort – and that’s true in every sport. The bats needed to step it up last night, and they couldn’t do it. But of course one of the great things about baseball is that the next day brings another chance to win a game.

The O’s will try to take the series in this afternoon’s finale at Camden Yards. Chris Tillman will come out of the bullpen and make the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Parker Birdwell (formerly of the Orioles’ organization). Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles’ magic by Manny Machado in grand fashion

Manny Machado demonstrated one of the reasons why the Baltimore Orioles need to sign him to a long-term deal last night. And by any means necessary at that. The Birds can’t allow Machado to walk; not for what he does in the field, and not for what he can do at the plate. Machado is a prime time player, and he demonstrated that in grand fashion last night.

Home run was the word of the day at the yard last night. Jeremy Hellickson dug the O’s into an early hole, however the fact is that the ball flew out of Oriole Park all night on both sides. Hellickson’s line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Hellickson was throwing strikes – if anything, he was getting too much of the plate. Before having played an inning-and-a-half, Anaheim had hit three home runs and the O’s trailed 5-0.

Mark Trumbo‘s solo homer in the last of the second got the Orioles on the board and cut the Anaheim lead to 5-1. One inning later Caleb Joseph added a solo shot, followed by a two-run homer by Machado. Suddenly the O’s were right in the thick of the game, trailing only 5-4.

But Anaheim’s a team that has it’s share of weapons, one of which is a guy named Trout. He smacked a two-run homer in the fifth to give his team a 7-4 lead over the Orioles. That could have been the coup de grace in a sense. But maybe the O’s learned from playing games out on the west coast against pesky teams. It’s not really over until it’s over.

Machado would foreshadow his eventual heroics in the last of the fifth with his second home run of the game, this one a solo shot. That cut the Anaheim lead to 7-5, but the O’s still had work to do. The Orioles’ pen held things where they were through until the last of the ninth. And as we know, the home team bats last.

The Birds had the bases loaded after two hits and a walk with one gone. And that brought Machado to the plate, trailing 7-5. When a guy comes up in that situation who’s already smacked two homers, it’s in the backs of people’s minds that he might smack a third. But…does the law of averages not say that odds are it won’t happen? Orioles fans would have settled for a single, which probably would have tied the game. But instead…

…they were in fact treated to Machado’s third home run of the game – this one a grand slam. And a walk off grand slam at that! Both the Birds and the fans went home happy last night, with the Orioles winning in shocking comeback fashion, by the score of 9-7.

After the game Machado said all of the right things in that he was trying to take what the defense would give him. However it had to be in the back of his mind that he could end the game (in grand fashion) – and he did (quote courtesy of Brittany Ghiroli,

You try to get one [run in] at least. That’s my mentality going up there, which is at least, ‘Get one guy in with less than two outs,’ with a guy like that. Just put the ball up in the air. I’ve been fortunate to have a little more power and get a little stronger as the years go on and those fly balls keep going a little bit.

At the end of the day, that’s a great win for the Orioles. And a great moment for Manny Machado. Again, the Orioles need to see him and this situation for what they are. Through any means necessary, Machado needs to be an Oriole in the long term.

The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s JC Romero. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Turnabout is fair play

The Baltimore Orioles are back in Charm City, and that’s a very good place for them to be right now. On Wednesday the Birds finished up a ten-game road trip, all games of which were out west. Luckily for the Orioles, they got all of the west coast games done in the one fatal swoop. No multiple trips out to the west coast this year.

So now the tables turn a bit, as the O’s get set for series’ with Anaheim this weekend, and Oakland early next week. All of those west coast teams seemingly will come through Camden Yards and the east coast. So yes, turnabout is fair play!

I’ve long said that teams such as the Orioles, Anaheim, Oakland, Seattle, New York, Boston, etc. should get special concessions in a sense. It’s tough being on the opposite coast and far away from any of your affiliates. Would it kill MLB to allow teams to put one or two minor leaguers on a taxi squad who in theory could step in at any point?

These are tough road trips for sure. The O’s probably squandered opportunities in each of the games they lost, and perhaps the distance played a role. So in theory, those breaks should not go the Orioles’ way. At least one would think.

The home stand opens tonight as Anaheim comes to town for a three-game set. Jeremy Hellickson gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s Andrew Heaney. Game time is set for just after 7 PM this evening.

Baltimore Orioles: Pesky Seattle outlasts the Birds

You have to wonder sometimes if the Baltimore Orioles aren’t overly used to AL East play. In baseball’s toughest division, you seemingly beat one another’s brains out. However once the coup de grace occurrs in a game, it’s done. Teams don’t have that pesky nature and don’t want to go away. And that’s haunted the O’s for the better part of the year.

Ubaldo Jimenez was effective for a few innings, but he struggled after going through the order once. Jimenez’s line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 2 K. The Orioles gifted Jimenez with the lead – twice. But he couldn’t hold it…due to the fact that Seattle just didn’t want to go away.

Tim Beckham started the game with what’s become a familiar pattern for the Birds: a solo home run. It’s really amazing how he’s come to the Orioles and made such an immediate and strong impact. It’s tough to argue at this point that he wasn’t a great acquisition by Dan Duquette.

Seattle would tie the game at one in the last of the third on an RBI-double by Heredia, and later in the inning they took a 3-1 lead on Alonso’s two-run homer. But the Birds weren’t out of it. Rickard scored from third on a wild pitch in the fifth, and Gentry would later add an RBI-triple to tie the game. Up comes Beckham again, and his RBI-single gave the Orioles the lead back at 4-3.

And in many cases, that right there might be the coup de grace in an AL East game. The O’s had both the momentum and the lead back. But Seattle’s not an AL East team, and they’re scrappy by nature. Jimenez immediately put runners on base in the last of the fifth, and Seattle tied it on Cano’s RBI-single. They would then get back-to-back RBI-singles to take a 6-4 lead. Add on a solo homer by Martin an inning later, and the O’s trailed 7-4.

However the O’s did make it very interesting in the top of the ninth. Manny Machado tacked on a sac fly-RBI, and via two walks and a hit batsman, Seattle loaded the bases. Trumbo was then hit by a pitch, and suddenly it was a one-run game at 7-6. However Davis struck out to end the game, and the O’s fell by that 7-6 score.

The Orioles finished the road trip at 4-6, which although is a losing mark – you have admit that this was a really tough road trip. No off days until now, when they’re back home. And the west coast swing is always the worst trip of the season given the longevity and distance. However the tables will turn now, as the O’s will host those same teams at Camden Yards as they come east – after an off day today.

Baltimore Orioles fall in Seattle

One Jonathan Schoop homer isn’t going to cut it for the Baltimore Orioles. Especially when your starter doesn’t even last five innings. Wade Miley was lifted early on in this game, even though it was far from out of control by any means. Miley’s line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 4 K.

Miley wasn’t missing by much. And in fact he seemed to indicate after the game that he perhaps felt he was getting squeezed by the home plate umpire (quote courtesy of Greg Johns & Josh Horton,

I was barely missing with some fastballs and cutters in. I’m talking, like, inches in. Could have been strikes and kind of fell behind a little bit.

In fairness, Miley didn’t come out and say that he was getting squeezed. However that’s the implication there. If you feel that they could have been strikes, you’re indirectly saying that you were being squeezed.

Nevertheless, the Orioles had an early lead in this game. Schoop’s homer came in the first inning. For the second consecutive night the Orioles took a 1-0 leaed in the first off of a solo homer. In this particular case we just didn’t know that it would be the only run the Birds would muster.

Seattle tied the game at one in the last of the fourth on a Cruz RBI-single. One inning later they took the lead on an RBI-single by Segura, and later in that fifth inning Cano grounded into a force out which allowed a run to score as well. And that’s your ballgame.

The bright spot of course was Jonathan Schoop, who’s having a career year. It’s really amazing in terms of what this guy’s been able to do if you think about it. Because he’s doing it both on offense and defense.

Schoop seemingly has timing down pat, and in reality he has a clock in his head that keeps him on task. And that was how Buck Showalter described Schoop’s successes when asked after the gae (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports)

He’s good, he’s a good player. He’s just graduating. Two plays tonight give you a good idea. He had two great clock plays. The ball he backed up and took on the short hop to possibly turn the double play. The other one, we were a little slow with the exchange on the 6-4-3 and he didn’t throw the ball to first and went to third base. Those are the little things you see. You see him take a walk in an RBI situation because they’re not throwing good pitches to hit. Those are things that have allowed him to grow.

The Orioles will try to take the series in this afternoon’s finale in Seattle (also the end of the west coast swing). Ubaldo Jimenez will get the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Marco Gonzales. Game time is set for just after 3:30 PM.

Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado get back on track

Unlike in the finale in Oakland, the Baltimore Oriole’ offense showed up in the opener in Seattle last night. They also got a quality start out of Kevin Gausman, who’s really been coming into his own of late. Gausman’s line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

Tim Beckham set the trend for the game when he smacked the first pitch out of the ballpark in the top of the first. However in the wake of that it appeared that the Birds were in for a dog fight. Seattle would score on an RBI-double in the last of the first to tie the game. They also had runners at second and third with nobody out. Yet Gausman pitched out of it, and the game remained tied.

And the Birds took the lead back immediately for good. Chris Davis’ RBI-double in the second gave them a 2-1 lead. Davis would later score on a fielder’s choice, and the O’s led 3-1.

However the big damage wasn’t done until later in that inning. Manny Machado smacked a grand slam, which broke the game wide open and gave the Birds a 7-1 lead. As I said, Oriole bats came untracked in this game.

Chris Davis would add an RBI-single in the fifth. He would later score on a two-run homer by Seth Smith. Mancini would add an additional solo homer of his own in the seventh, When the dust settled, the O’s handed Seattle an 11-3 loss.

The O’s are two games out of the second wild card spot. But Seattle is right behind them. So this was a huge game and this is a huge series overall. The O’s need to take two-of-three at a minimum. They got off to a good start last night.

In order to take two-of-three, the bats need to remain hot. They can’t be inconsistent, especially seeing that Seattle is a pretty decent team.  Sunday they weren’t really up for the challenge. Last night they were. That’s how it needs to continue to be.

The series continues this evening from Seattle’s Safeco Field. Wade Miley gets the start for the Orioles. Seattle will counter with Andrew Albers. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Some days you’re the bug

The Baltimore Orioles found themselves to be “the bug” yesterday in Oakland. You know the old saying; some days you’re the windshield, and some days you’re the bug. However the O’s need to figure out how to cease switching between the two – and quick – if they’re going to stay in the race. Let me rephrase that; they need to cease switching between the two and become mainly the windshield.

Jeremy Hellickson made it through five innings, however it was the fourth that did in him and the O’s. Hellickson’s line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 K. The O’s held the lead in this game – early on, at least. They got RBI-singles from Schoop and Davis in the first and second innings respectively. And it looked like the Birds were picking up right where they left off on Saturday night.

However Oakland’s Healy provided an RBI-double in the in the last of the fourth, and Olson reached on a fielder’s choice which scored a run. That tied the game at two. However later in the inning Chapman came to the plate with two on, and promptly smacked a ball out of the ballpark. It wasn’t a deep shot by any means, but the story of the Orioles’ season is other teams getting fat on bloops, seeing eye singles, and cheapie-type home runs.

Oakland would add a run an inning later on a sac fly-RBI. Joyce would later add a two-run homer, and Olson a solo shot before Oakland was finished for the day. Those were sandwiched around Manny Machado‘s solo homer in the eighth inning. The final of course ended up being 9-3 in favor of Oakland.

In the entire series, yesterday’s game was the only one in which the Orioles may not have really had a shot to win. Even still, they did have an early lead. However what I’m saying is that the score was a bit lopsided at the end. They had a lead in the eighth on Friday that was blown – if not for that, the Birds would have taken three-of-four from Oakland.

Mind you, Oakland’s a team that’s in full rebuilding mode. So the O’s should have been able to handle themselves in that sense this weekend. But some days you’re the windshield, and some days you’re the bug.

The O’s now head to Seattle for a three-game set. Kevin Gausman gets the start in the series opener tonight for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Yovani Gallardo. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.