Baltimore Orioles: All it took was a serving of Beef Welington

One of the now many injuries suffered by the Baltimore Orioles are various points thus far in 2017 has been that of Welington Castillo. When he has been in the lineup however, he’s made an impact. And that was never more true than last night when his grand slam seemingly lifted the Orioles to snapping a six-game losing streak.

Dylan Bundy‘s numbers indicate that he wasn’t very effective last night. However those numbers are a bit deceiving in my view. Bundy’s line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R (4 earned), 3 BB, 4 K. Make no mistake about the fact that Bundy (who earned the first Oriole victory for a starter since June 2nd) put the Birds in a position to win the game – which they did, in a game that was delayed approximately an hour and a half by rain.

At first it did look to be more of the same, however. Anderson’s two-RBI single in the first inning gave Chicago a 2-0 lead. However the Birds immediately cut into that lead in the second with an RBI-single by Jonathan Schoop, cutting it to 2-1. So needless to say, it appeared that the Birds would compete in this game.

Now having said that, things took a turn for the worst in the botton of that second inning. Davidson smacked a solo homer off of Bundy, and Cabrera ended up at third base and a run scored on a bizarre play. The relay throw came into Schoop at second, and quite frankly he had no prayer of throwing the runner out at third base. Yet he uncorked a throw anyways, and…promptly threw the ball literally into the stands. The run scored, as did Cabrera eventually on a sac fly to the outfield.

The run that scored on the throwing error obviously was unearned. However I would submit that the run scored by Cabrera later in the inning should go as unearned as well. He would have never been on third base if not for that throwing error. That’s why I say that Bundy pitched better than his numbers indicate. Furthermore, that’s the type of play that happens when you’re a team like the Orioles who’s struggling at everything.

Some might have thought that was kind of the back-breaker for the Birds in this game. But there was still a lot of game left to play. They cut it to 5-2 in the fourth when Castillo reached on a fielder’s choice which scored a run. Kim’s two-RBI-single later in the inning brought the O’s to within 5-4.

But this night belonged to Welington Castillo. Actually…strike that. It belonged to the Orioles overall as a team. But the win was spearheaded by Castillo, who’s grand slam in the fifth inning put the Birds ahead 8-5. That’s the big blow for which the Orioles had been looking for some time, as well as in this series and this game. As I’ve been saying, this team is too good to not eventually come around.

Jones and Mancini would add RBI-singles in the eighth inning to give the Orioles some insurance. Chicago would get one back in the last of the ninth on a Hanson solo home run, however the O’s finished things out and got the win – snapping that six-game losing streak. The win in my view relieves a lot of pressure on the Orioles, and for their sake hopefully they can get back to the business of baseball as opposed to worrying about snapping a losing streak.

For his money, Castillo said after the game that he didn’t feel there was pressure on the team. But they all knew what was going on and knew that they had to step it up in some manner (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):

I won’t say pressure. We have a great ballclub and we just need to keep doing what we’re doing today. Keep swinging the bats and hopefully the pitching stops the other offense. That is going to come. We are not too worried about it. It’s a long season and we have a great team. At some point we are going to do what we know to do.

If the O’s can win today, while it won’t salvage the road trip it would give them some momentum coming out of it. Obviously being a getaway day afternoon game it’s going to be a quick turnaround. Especially with last night’s game itself being later than expected after the rain delay.

That above-mentioned series finale is this afternoon on the south side of Chicago. Chris Tilman gets the nod for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s David Holmberg. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Lucky since 2012?

Alec Asher pitched a decent game for the Baltimore Orioles last night, despite the final score and his stats. Asher’s line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 1 K. Asher kept Chicago at bay for the most part, that is until the sixth inning. Needless to say, he turned in the best starting performance the O’s have had in a week or so.

The Birds even had a lead in the game, due to Manny Machado’s RBI-single in the first inning. However that’s as far as they got. Furthermore the Orioles left seven men on base over the course of the game. And when you only put one run on the board, you’re asking to be beat.

Chicago took the lead in the fourth with a two-RBI double by Garcia. And while Asher surrendered the lead and thus took the loss, he did pitch out of a jam there and minimized the damage. However a walk, a base hit, and a hit batsman in the sixth loaded the bases with nobody out. Davidson followed suit with a grand slam, giving Chicago a 6-1 lead and a 6-1 victory.

Again, my personal opinion is that Asher pitched fairly well. Yes he gave up the fatal blow, however for the most part he kept the Orioles in the game. As I said above, when you can’t score runs you can’t expect to win.

So with the recent struggles, the natives aren’t happy in Birdland. Granted the pitching is different; however for the most part this is the same Orioles team that’s been together since 2012 – the nucleus, that is. Sure some names such as Trumbo are different, and others such as Markakis and Wieters are gone. But the likes of Jones, Machado, Hardy, Davis, and Tillman are all still there. What gives?

There are those in the national media who would have you believe that the Orioles got lucky in 2012. From then until now, we heard that the Birds were defying logic by having winning records and so forth. Is it possible now five years later that those people…were and are right?

I would say no. Furthermore I would ask Orioles fans who now say the Birds should sell and sell big to calm down. In essence, we have to look past the tips of our noses. Please tell me that you know and understand that Jones, Machado, Trumbo, Davis, et al have not suddenly just lost the touch of everything that they had before.

I maintain that this is still a good team, but one going through something. And that happens over 162 games. Toronto went through something similar right at the beginning of the season, and Boston lost some luster in early May as well. Does it really make sense to say that someone “got lucky” for five years but now we’re seeing their true colors? No, it doesn’t.

The O’s will try to break out of their funk tonight in Chicago. Dylan Bundy will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Miguel Gonzalez. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis injured as Birds struggle on

The Baltimore Orioles may have lost first baseman Chris Davis last night in yet another loss – 10-7 at the hands of lowly Chicago. Make no mistake about the fact that while they’re struggling, the Orioles are a good team. They have too much talent to be playing the way that they are. And they will snap out of it; they just might have to do it without Davis for awhile.

Wade Miley struggled yet again, becoming only the latest Oriole starter to make an early exit. Miley’s line: 2.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 0 K. Chicago was able to take a 2-0 lead on the last of the second on a two-run homer by Smith, and an inning later it was 3-0 after Abreu’s RBI-single. Add in an RBI-double and another RBI-single, and the Birds trailed 6-0 after three.

However the good news for the future is that the O’s put up a fight at the plate. They did score seven runs in this game, which indicates some life in their bats. They just need to compliment that with decent or even passable pitching. Smith’s RBI-double in the fourth cut the lead to 6-1, which was followed by an RBI-single by Jones.

However Chicago quickly put two more runs on the board, and a third in the last of the seventh on a Davidson homer. Just to show how badly the Orioles are struggling right now, one of the aforementioned runs came as a result of Smith flat out whiffing on a line drive hit to him in right field. He was in line to catch the ball, and the lights obstructed his vision and he missed it – runner ended up at third base.

But again, the O’s tried to get back into the game. Kim’s RBI-single in the eighth cut the lead to 10-3. Mancini then smacked a three-run homer later in the inning which brought the Birds to within 10-6. An RBI-single by Schoop in the ninth brought it to 10-7, but the O’s couldn’t complete the comeback any further than that.

Again, this team will snap out of their funk. Right now people are marveling at how a team like New York can be doing what they’re doing and so forth. ALL teams go through periods like this over the course of 162 games. At some point the Orioles might find themselves clicking on all cylinders and New York might struggle. That’s how the season ebbs and flows, and it’s part of the game. Even though they fell, the Birds put seven runs on the board, which indicates that perhaps the offense is coming around.

Before the game even ended the Orioles announced that Chris Davis had a strained oblique. He’s getting an MRI today, however don’t be surprised if he lands on the DL. It’s never a good time to have injuries, however they all seem to be hitting this team at once. But again, that’s part of the game.

The series continues this evening on the south side of Chicago. The O’s will send Alec Asher to the mound, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Derek Holland. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: No joy in Mudville

Kevin Gausman‘s rough first inning led to the Baltimore Orioles in essence being boatraced once again yesterday afternoon in the Bronx. Gausman’s line: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 6 BB, 0 K. Seven walks are what stands out in this case; when you hand out free passes, you give the opponent a shot to score. And when that opponent is hitting anything within the zip code, it’s a recepie for disaster.

NY got a two-RBI single from Castro in the first, and then a three-run homer from Sanchez. It seemed that New York knew what was coming – seemingly before Gausman. However the O’s did try to make a run of things. Tehada’s RBI-double in the third cut the lead to 5-1, which was followed by RBI-doubles by Smith and Schoop. But that’s as close as the Orioles were allowed to get.

However make no mistake about the fact that this doesn’t all fall upon Gausman. The Orioles committed a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes in this game and this weekend, such as Schoop botching double-plays, and balls falling in the outfield square between two players. Part of a game like this and quite frankly a series like this is momentum. The Orioles were seemingly listless from the first moments of the game and of the series. And it translate into the results that we saw.

NY would proceed to put nine more runs on the board before all was said and done – including two homers by Judge. Whereas the Orioles seem to be playing a knotch below everyone else right now, New York is a step ahead. Now with that said, savvy fans also know that at some point the pendulumn swings back the other way. History says that there’s no reason to believe that this Orioles team won’t be in the race until the end.

However the O’s do need to get it together – and quick. The hope is that this week’s trip to Chicago will act as a get well type of series. Yes that sounds somewhat arrogant; however mind you that the Orioles are a much better team than the ChiSox (who they swept a few weeks ago).

Time will tell, however it’s an opportunity for the O’s to get some momentum under their wings. Hopefully they’ll also be able to get Machado back in the lineup, as his absence has been felt on both offense and defense. One way or the other, they’ll be glad to get out of New York.

The Chicago series begins tonight at US Cellular Field. Wade Miley gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Chicago’s Mike Pelfrey. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Is Chris Tillman healthy?

Needless to say, Chris Tillman didn’t get the job done last night for the Baltimore Orioles. Tillman’s line: 1.1 IP, 7 H, 9 R, 3 BB, 1 K. That tells anyone all that they need to know about the game in general.

Tillman’s first inning was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. He recorded the first out on a strikeout, and then induced the second hitter to ground out to first. Admittedly you’re already thinking that it would be a clean inning, however I was literally about to tweet that if the first inning was any indication Tillman had his good stuff last night.

The third hitter was Judge; and he smacked a solo homer. Sanchez also hit a two-RBI single, and Gregorious a two-run homer. Throw in a Carter RBI-single, and the Birds trailed 6-0 after one.

And it only got worse from there. Before Tillman’s book closed early in the second inning, it was 9-0. But how did Tillman go from being so good for the first two hitters to totally falling off the map?

There’s some speculation that perhaps there’s some sort of injury that’s still nagging him. However the onus at this point is on Tillman if he isn’t feeling right to say something. And I have to believe that Tillman along with every other guy on the roster is enough of a pro to where they would do just that.

With all of that in mind, it’s worth mentioning that if you send a player to the DL, the opposing team’s doctors have the right to examine him first. So it’s very easy to suggest using the DL as a de facto demotion to the minor leagues for anyone, however that could backfire.

I suspect it’s kind of an unwritten rule that unless the guy is truly healthy with no issues whatsoever you kind of don’t say anything. However do fans really think that a team like New York, a division rival, wouldn’t try to exercise any advantage they could?

I’m not suggesting that Tillman isn’t injured – or that he is. I’m just saying that you have to be careful when you send people to the DL. I do think it’s worth looking into his health in between starts, because what happened last night isn’t going to win you many games.

When the smoke cleared, the Orioles had given up 16 runs total. Again, not going to win you many games. They did get solo homers from Davis and Rickart in the seventh and eighth, and an RBI-single by Joseph.

The O’s will try to salvage one game in the Bronx in this afternoon’s series finale. Kevin Gausman will get the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Chad Green. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles waste a good start by Dylan Bundy

The Baltimore Orioles got a solid start out of Dylan Bundy last night. In fact, his numbers in the game probably don’t do him as much justice as they could. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K.

I say all the time that pitchers will have three types of starts over the course of the season; 10 good, 10 bad, and 10 in-between. I’m not sure where this one would rank for Bundy (good or in-between), but the fact is that he turned in the definition of a quality start. And when you’re losing games that are quality starts, it’s really tough to point at pitching as the reason why.

In this case, the O’s actually had an early lead against New York in the Bronx. Jonathan Schoop smacked a two-run homer in the second inning which put the Birds ahead 2-0. At that point of course it appeared that it would be a good night for the Birds. Not to be in the end.

The one fatal flaw that Bundy showed was the inability to have a shutdown inning. The O’s took to the field in the last of the first, and Bundy promptly allowed the lead to be cut in half by giving up a solo homer to Castro. Later in the inning New York tied it on Headley’s sac fly-RBI. Now Bundy did limit the damage to just two runs, but when the offense only had two runs on the board at the time it’s like a game reset.

Hicks led off the sixth with a solo homer, which gave New York the lead for good. So Bundy did end up taking the loss, however without a doubt he pitched well enough to win. He just didn’t get the run support on this night.

Hicks would smack a second homer in the seventh, this one of the two-run variety. Holliday would also add an RBI-double, and Romine a two-RBI single in the last of the eighth. All in all, this spelled an 8-2 loss for the Birds in the Bronx.

Injuries are starting to turn into a problem for the Orioles, although they did get Jones back last night after he sat on Thursday in D.C. However Manny Machado remained out of the lineup last night after being accidentally spiked on Wednesday evening. At some point the Orioles would in theory have to make a decision to send him to the DL if he continually can’t play. He apparently felt a little better prior to last night’s game.

The O’s also had to send reliever Darren O’Day to the DL prior to the game, as he’s had continual shoulder soreness. The move is retroactive to Wednesday. However mind you that with O’Day down along with Britton, the O’s are now without two major pieces in their bullpen. Worth perpetual consideration.

The series continues this evening at Yankee Stadium. Chris Tillman will get the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Luis Severino. Game time is set for 7:15 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fall in D.C.

The Baltimore Orioles seemingly had the big advantage going into last night’s makeup game in D.C. Washington was coming off of a long west coast swing, which culminated on Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles. They then had to fly across the country to get home to play the Orioles on what was supposed to be an off day (for both teams).

Instead, it was the Orioles who seemed to play like they were coming off of such a trip. And Washington took advantage of almost every mistake they made. Alec Asher had a rough first inning. And in this particular case, that was the game. Asher’s line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R 4 BB, 6 K.

Asher threw 41 pitches in the first inning, and gave up four runs. Harper lined an RBI-single which gave Washington an early lead, which was followed by an RBI-single by Drew. Taylor would later drive in two runs with a double, and the O’s trailed 4-0 before most of the crowd had even settled down.

Asher was hanging pitches in the zone for most of his outing, which doesn’t bode well for a team being able to win. Now in fairness, Oriole bats were held at bay by Washington’s Ross. The Birds however were without Adam Jones and Manny Machado. Jones was simply given the night off following two extra innings games in a row, and Machado of course is suffering from the effects of being spiked on Wednesday night. Combine losing those two with also being without a DH, and you have an offense that’s totally not itself.

Asher was able to settle down after that first inning, giving up only one other run, a sac fly-RBI in the second. He was relieved after the fourth inning by Ubaldo Jimenez, who promptly gave up a solo homer to Drew in the fifth. But that’s the only run Jimenez gave up, and once again he did a big service for his team and his fellow bullpen mates. He pitched three solid innings, allowing the O’s to use only one other reliever. As they head into a weekend series in NY, that makes a big difference.

The O’s did net one run, off of an RBI-single by Trumbo in the seventh. However all in all, it appeared that Showalter wanted to rest his bullpen as well as Jones and Machado. Granted every game is important, however the New York series more so than this one game.

That New York series begins tonight at Yankee Stadium. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Jordan Montgomery. Game time is set for just after 7:30 PM.