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Put a bird on it!



Updated: 2017-05-24T06:59:17-04:00

 



Wednesday Bird Droppings are looking to avoid the sweep

2017-05-24T06:59:17-04:00

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The Orioles are playing bad baseball lately, but you should read our links anyway.

Welcome to Wednesday, Camden Chatters. It’s been a rough time in Birdland lately and things won’t get any easier with a weekend road trip to Houston to play the team with the best record in baseball. But first they have to face the Twins in a day game and try to avoid being swept.

If you missed last night’s game, you missed a pretty good pitching performance from Dylan Bundy and not much else. Check out all the details in Randy DeCleene’s game recap.

If you can handle reading more about the Orioles after they have lost so much lately, we have some links for you:

The Orioles have given Ubaldo Jimenez a long leash, but it’s time to pull the plug - The Washington Post
Everyone is calling for the plug to be pulled on Ubaldo's Baltimore career.

Orioles Defense: Outfield Gains Countered by Infield - Camden Depot
The outfield has been quite a bit better so far this season compared to last. Unfortunately the infield has let us down a bit.

Santana goes distance to shut out Orioles 2-0 (with quotes) - School of Roch
Buck quotes on last night's loss.

Orioles send C Pena to Triple-A | Lindy's Sports
If you missed the news, Francisco Pena cleared waivers and is back with Norfolk a triple-A.

Days off have been beneficial for Orioles’ J.J. Hardy - Baltimore Sun
Old people need rest!

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have one Orioles birthday buddy, old time shortstop Willy Miranda. Miranda was born May 24, 1926 in Cuba and played the final five seasons of his nine-year career with the Orioles. Miranda couldn’t hit (career OPS+ of 55) but he was an outstanding fielder. You can read more about him at the SABR Bio Project.




O’s blanked 2-0 by Minnesota at Camden Yards

2017-05-23T22:00:01-04:00

Ervin Santana brilliant with a complete game shutout. Baltimore has only two hits in a quiet night at the plate. Tuesday night, as Buck Showalter celebrated his 61st birthday and his seventh as manager in Charm City, the Baltimore Orioles (25-18) took the field at rainy Camden Yards against the surprising first place Minnesota Twins (23-18). The Twins held a one game lead on Cleveland in the AL Central, the O’s were a game and a half behind New York in the AL East and leading the Wild Card, but trending in the wrong direction the last few weeks. The goals for the O’s – stop a two-game losing streak, get Dylan Bundy his sixth win and completely forget the nightmare that was Monday’s game. None of that was accomplished. Top pitchers battle Both fresh off their worst starts of the season last Thursday, but strong overall in 2017, Dylan Bundy (5-2, 2.97) faced Ervin Santana (6-2, 2.07). Neither would disappoint, however one would be better. Twins DH Kennys Vargas got the first hit off Bundy with a double to left in the second, SS Jorge Polanco walked and the inning ended on a ground out to Chris Davis. In the third, CF Byron Buxton walked and was thrown out at second sliding past the base and Bundy was easily through the inning. After a Jonathan Schoop walk to lead off the third against Santana, JJ Hardy flied out to the back of the warning track in right. Seth Smith grounded out to 1B Joe Mauer, Schoop went to third on a wild pitch and Adam Jones flied out to left. Through three innings, Bundy and Santana were on their games. It was a completely different game from Monday, part of the beauty and grind of baseball. RF Max Kepler, the Twins top rookie in 2016, doubled in the fourth with two outs and the inning ended with a fly out to right. Through four, the Twins were 0-2 with runners in scoring position, had only two hits, and Bundy continued to look solid. Mark Trumbo walked with one out in the fourth, Chris Davis flied to Buxton in center field, and Welington Castillo struck out on a questionable check swing call. Through four, both pitchers had thrown a little more than 50 pitches and yielded only three total hits. Small cracks for Bundy and the O’s Jorge Polanco walked off Bundy to start the fifth, C Jason Castro singled sharply to right and the Twins were in business with runners on the corners and nobody out. Byron Buxton singled to left plating the first run of the game. Next, in a bizarre sequence with one out, Manny Machado missed a foul ball down the third base line (it was a tough play, but one Manny usually makes) and DH Robbie Grossman singled to center, but Adam Jones quickly short hopped the ball and forced Buxton out at second. Joe Mauer struck out swinging and the damage was minimal. A two-out solo home run to left by Twins 2B Brian Dozier in the seventh made it 2-0. It was time to stretch – “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” – and Bundy looked good overall, but Santana was great. On the night, Bundy left after pitching seven innings on 107 pitches, giving up six hits, one home run, three walks and seven strikeouts. It was another quality start for the O’s 2011 first round pick born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was replaced by LHP Richard Bleier, who pitched the eighth and ninth. Santana sharp; O’s bats quiet Twice during the game, in the first and sixth innings, Ervin Santana got three outs on six pitches. He sent the O’s down on seven pitches in the seventh. It took a few more pitches, but Santana retired Schoop, Hardy and Smith in order to end the eighth inning. This scene was getting familiar. Through 24 outs, Santana had retired eleven in a row and thrown only 95 pitches. Hits by Welington Castillo and Jonathan Schoop were the only knocks for Baltimore on Tuesday. Seth Smith, Adam Jones, and Manny Machado were each 0-4. Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis, Trey Mancini and JJ Hardy were 0-3. Ervin Santana threw a complete game and was absolutely brilliant. He ended the game with 14 consecutive outs and the O’s were shutout for the second time in 2017. W[...]



Buck on the next Ubaldo start: “We’ll see where we are when we get there”

2017-05-23T17:03:29-04:00

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Ubaldo Jimenez is scheduled for his next Orioles start on Sunday, but manager Buck Showalter allowed for other possibilities in his Wednesday pre-game remarks.

The patience of Orioles fans with Ubaldo Jimenez seems to have finally run out after his Tuesday meltdown, in which he was handed leads of 5-0 and 6-2 and not only could he not hold them before getting blasted out of the game, he couldn’t finish more than four innings plus a few batters.

It’s starting to seem like O’s fans aren’t the only ones losing patience. In his pre-game remarks to Orioles reporters on Wednesday, manager Buck Showalter indicated that, while Jimenez’s next start is scheduled for Sunday, “We’ll see where we are when we get there.”

That’s obviously nothing definitive, but the fact that the door is cracked open even a little bit for Jimenez to possibly be shuffled out of the rotation is something noteworthy.

A Thursday off-day opened up the possibility that the Orioles could choose to skip Jimenez’s turn in the rotation in order to put off having to make a decision about him so soon. However, Showalter said that the Orioles weren’t likely to do that because it’s also important to them to give an extra day of rest for Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

If someone else WAS going to start instead of Jimenez on Sunday, who would it be? Alec Asher, the best performer of the Norfolk-Baltimore shuttle riders up to this point, seems to be the obvious choice, though if he’s needed for a few innings from the bullpen between now and Sunday, that could end up ruling him out. That leaves the O’s picking from the rest of the bunch.

The other two pitchers who have found success in small samples are Gabriel Ynoa and Logan Verrett. However, Ynoa was just optioned to the minors yesterday, so he can’t come back within 10 days unless there’s a disabled list move. As for Verrett, he’s on extended paternity leave and hasn’t pitched since May 16, which seems to rule him out for Sunday duty.

A lot can end up happening between now and Sunday. The Orioles could still push another start out of Jimenez in desperation for lack of anybody else available as a better choice. Or maybe they’re starting to think like a lot of O’s fans: Anyone who’s not Jimenez has to be a better choice.




MLB Draft 2017: Reviewing the Orioles 2013 draft, four years later

2017-05-23T10:00:07-04:00

The Orioles 2013 draft class looked better before all of Hunter Harvey’s injuries, but with a couple of later-round successes, the draft class isn’t a complete whiff. Draft time rolling around was a nice diversion back in the bad Orioles years. Those teams were nearly always heading for the toilet even by early June, and so you could look at the draft and imagine the Orioles getting some top talent who proved to be great in the future. That’s how they got Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz, Manny Machado, and Dylan Bundy - all of whom were hyped as amateurs, whatever they did or didn’t do later. The 2013 draft was the first one where the Orioles did not have this opportunity. Since they won the AL Wild Card in 2012, they didn’t pick in this draft until 22nd overall. Thanks to a competitive balance pick between the first and second rounds - the only time the Orioles haven’t traded one of these tradeable picks - they did have an opportunity to get a little depth, even if they couldn’t get a consensus top talent. Like they will this year, in 2013, the Orioles just had to take a late-first round talent and hope for the best. The Orioles seemed to make a concerted attempt to try to add some younger players to their system with this draft. They did not draft a four year college player until the seventh round. Six out of their first seven picks, including their first three, came from the high school ranks. Four years later, exactly one of these seven has reached Double-A. Reaching for the stars didn’t work out, on the whole. Four years is a long time for a prospect. The final words haven’t been written about them yet, but for the most part, you can see who’s going to be a big leaguer or not by now, and who’s going to need some unexpected turnaround to make it. 1st round, 22nd overall - Hunter Harvey - RHP - Bandys HS (NC) In this space last year, I wrote that at least Harvey’s various injuries hadn’t resulted in Tommy John surgery. He got that surgery two months later. The many injuries Harvey has suffered are really a shame because he very quickly looked like a more exciting prospect than his draft status would suggest, ranking as high as the #20 prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus within a year and a half of being drafted. That is a scouting win. Development has proven a tougher task. Are the Orioles colossal boneheads when it comes to developing starting pitchers in the minor leagues? Harvey’s stalling out is another one of those things that makes you wonder. Maybe it was just very bad luck. Perhaps the path of Dylan Bundy, who was also sidelined by injuries for so long, is one that Harvey will be able to follow. He’ll have the advantage of not having to be on the 25-man roster any time soon - though the Orioles will have to think about whether to protect Harvey from the Rule 5 draft this upcoming winter even though he’s pitched in five games since 2014. In the 14 picks between Harvey and the next Orioles pick, three players who seem to be successes were taken: current New York darling Aaron Judge (#32 overall), Sean Manaea, who was the Ben Zobrist trade bait for the Royals (#34 overall), and Giants infield prospect Christian Arroyo, taken 25th overall, currently the #80 prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com. Competitive Balance Round A, 37th overall - Josh Hart - CF - Parkview HS (GA) What may remain most noteworthy about this pick is that it’s the only time the Orioles didn’t trade it, as opposed to the past couple of years where they short-sightedly chose to use their balance picks to dump a few million dollars of Ryan Webb and Matusz salaries on teams who actually value those picks. At the time he was drafted, Hart generated some praise, with a comment in his scouting profile that he “reminds some of a Ben Revere or Denard Span-type player” - which is surely what the Orioles were hoping they would get. Hart didn’t really hit much his first two professional seasons, but the Orioles k[...]



Hyun Soo Kim deserves a bigger role on the Orioles

2017-05-23T09:00:07-04:00

The outfielder has become a forgotten man on a team that can use his skillset. For the second season in a row, outfielder Hyun Soo Kim has been relegated to bench duty for an Orioles team that desperately needs his on-base ability. Instead of giving Kim a well-earned regular spot in the lineup, manager Buck Showalter has preferred to hand playing time to less proven and less deserving players with questionable skillsets. Deja vu all over again This is a carbon copy of what happened a year ago. Kim, who struggled in the 2016 spring and refused a minor league assignment, was a fixture on the bench until becoming a starter in late May. Once he was given a chance, Kim shined with his .302/.382/.420 batting line, and delivered one of the most clutch moments of the entire season. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mEQMdrZIjFo?rel=0&controls=2" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> Skipping ahead to this past spring, Kim was much better down in Sarasota. He showed little power, but his .271 batting average and .353 on-base percentage indicated that he was much more prepared for a major league season. His reward? A smattering of playing time and abbreviated appearances where, on the rare occasion he starts a game, he is almost always the first player lifted in favor of a more “defense first” option in the outfield. Granted, his numbers have not been great. Going into Monday’s action, Kim has a .222/.311/.296 batting line with one double, one home run and three RBI over 54 at-bats in 21 games. For reference, the Orioles have played 42 total games. Alternative factors Meanwhile, Craig Gentry stole 37 painful at-bats prior to be demoted. Joey Rickard has been given 56 at-bats for some reason. And Mark Trumbo has played in every game so far, which makes some sense given his track record and the contract he has, but his bat has been ice cold at times. The only two corner outfielders that have totally deserved their playing time are Seth Smith and Trey Mancini. Smith has, surprisingly, served as an ideal leadoff man and boasts an impressive .303/.388/.506 batting line while playing OK defense. Mancini has been kind of a mess with the leather, but he is hitting well enough (.300 batting average, seven home runs, 22 RBI) to forgive the defensive trouble. The kid is certainly a contender for Rookie of the Year at this point. Makes no sense Even still, the lack of playing time for Kim has been ridiculous. Gentry was both a below average fielder and terrible hitter, yet he was given several starts against left-handed pitching. Rickard, who is supposed to be a left-handed pitching specialist, is hitting .229 against southpaws. Kim, is 1-for-1 in his lone at-bat against a left-handed pitcher this season. Let the man get a game! Overall, the Orioles .258 batting average ranks 12th in the majors while their .317 OBP is 21st in the league. As a result, they find themselves in 15th place for runs scored. All of those numbers are perfectly mediocre and, with the way the Baltimore pitching staff has recently imploded, are not good enough numbers to push the O’s into the playoffs. The offense needs to step up to the next level. It’s really not difficult. Kim is a contact hitter and high-OBP guy when playing regularly. To score more runs, you want as many people on base as possible. Putting Kim in the lineup would likely lead to the Orioles scoring more runs, which is, ya know, the whole point of baseball. Progress? Designating Gentry for assignment was a good first step. Next, Rickard needs to be demoted. His presence only tempts Showalter. Because he is a right-handed hitter that has decent foot speed, Showalter can’t help the “old school manager” inside of him and start him against lefties or misuse him as a defensive replacement. The kicker is that Rickard is not really an upgrade on Kim in any aspect of the game apar[...]



Orioles prospects 5/22: More losses for everyone

2017-05-23T08:00:06-04:00

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The Norfolk Tides were off last night, which means they didn’t lose! Everyone else did, though.

Hartford Yard Goats (COL) 7, Bowie Baysox 3

David Hess had a rough start in what has been a rough season for him so far. In just 4 13 innings, Hess gave up five runs on nine hits. He only walked one, but that didn’t help him all that much. His season ERA now sits at 5.09. The other two runs in the game were surrendered by Jason Garcia, who is also sporting an ERA just over 5.

On offense, both LF D.J. Stewart and RF Randolph Gassaway picked up two hits and a walk. The Baysox had just one extra base hit on the night, a triple from 3B Sean Coyle.

Wilmington Blue Rocks (KCR) 10, Frederick Keys 1

The Keys didn’t have a hit in this game until the seventh inning when DH Shane Hoelscher hit his first home run of the season. Their only other hit came from CF Austin Hays, who was just named the Carolina League Player of the Week.

As bad as the hitting was, the pitching may have been worse. Lefty Keegan Akin, the Orioles’ #5 prospect, gave up seven runs in just three innings. He allowed four home runs and his season ERA is now 5.95. I’m beginning to wonder if his aggressive promotion to high-A ball was a good idea.

Hagerstown Suns (WAS) 6, Delmarva Shorebirds 0

Starting pitcher Lucas Humpal completed seven innings, which is pretty good. Unfortunately he gave up five runs, which is pretty bad. Humpal’s control wasn’t bad as he walked just one, but his seven hits allowed were very timely for the other team.

The Shorebirds managed just six hits in this game, all singles. Combine that with zero walks and that is not a recipe for success. Catcher Jerry McClanahan had two hits, the only Shorebird with more than one hit on the day.

For more information on these games, please visit MiLB.com.

Today’s Games

  • Norfolk @ Toledo, 6:35. Starting pitcher: Jordan Kipper
  • Bowie vs. Hartford, 6:35. Starting pitcher: Tanner Scott
  • Frederick @ Potomac, 7:05. Starting pitcher: TBD
  • Delmarva vs. Hagerstown, 7:05. Starting pitcher: TBD



Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where you don’t have to watch Ubaldo pitch today

2017-05-23T07:00:05-04:00

It’s Buck Showalter’s birthday today, so hopefully the Orioles present him with a win. In today’s links, the Jimenez dilemma, a forgotten draft pick resurfaces, and more. Hello, friends. Things are feeling awfully grim today after getting the unabridged Ubaldo Jimenez experience - and subsequent Tyler Wilson and Stefan Crichton experiences - in Monday’s ridiculous loss to the Twins. If you missed it, you’re lucky, but make sure to check out Stacey’s rundown of the not-so-lovely totals. The good news is that the Orioles are still in second place in the American League East and still just 1.5 games behind the division-leading Yankees, who may be better than expected but probably aren’t 100-win good. The OTHER good news is that you don’t have to watch Jimenez pitch today, which will hopefully contribute to making it a better day than yesterday, at least in baseball terms. There was one bit of goodness in that mess of a game: Adam Jones set the record for home runs hit at Oriole Park at Camden Yards with his 125th OPACY homer. Congratulations to Adam, not that he needs our validation of his achievements. We think he’s great, though, and yes, such a proclamation requires the royal we. Around the blogO’sphere With latest blowup, Jimenez is forcing the Orioles to make a decision with his spot (Baltimore Baseball)The question was asked by Orioles beat writers following Monday’s loss. Manager Buck Showalter didn’t address the speculation directly, but, well, see for yourself... Back with Orioles, Tyler Wilson tries to earn his teammates' trust - Steve MelewskiThat could have gone better. And as a result, Wilson probably won’t be back with the Orioles for very long. Orioles Will Celebrate The 25th Anniversary Season August 18 & 19 « CBS BaltimoreThere will be a mid-August celebration for the 25th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Check out some of the cool stuff. Orioles still welcome former draftee Pat Connaughton’s return to baseball as he considers NBA future (Baltimore Sun)Connaughton was the Orioles fourth round pick in 2014. After a season in which he averaged fewer than two minutes per game in the NBA, it seems he’s once again thinking about baseball. Flaherty receives PRP injection in shoulder (plus other notes) - School of RochOne health update yesterday was on Ryan Flaherty’s shoulder, and it looks like his tendinitis is going to keep him out for at least a couple more weeks. It’s Janish time. MLB: How have all 30 teams answered their most intriguing question? (ESPN)The Orioles question was whether their starting rotation would be able to compete. Nobody said that the answer was going to be pretty. Curiosity Might Kill the Home-Run Spike | FanGraphs BaseballThis article isn’t about the Orioles at all, but it is about something that pitchers might be able to do, generally, that might cause there to be fewer home runs hit in MLB, which would definitely affect the Orioles. Birthdays and anniversaries On this day in 1999, Brady Anderson set an American League record by being hit by pitch twice in the same inning - the first inning. The Orioles went on to win that game against the Rangers, 15-6. One lone former Oriole has a birthday today: Mike Gonzalez, one of the several failed reliever signings of former GM Andy MacPhail. However, we do have one very special current Orioles birthday: It’s Buck Showalter’s birthday today! May the Orioles win a game for him. Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: father of modern taxonomy Carl Linnaeus (1707), funny man Drew Carey (1958), actress Melissa McBride (1965), singer-songwriter Jewel (1974), Jeopardy whiz Ken Jennings (1974), and WWE wrestler Bray Wyatt (1987). On this day in history... In 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by Burgundians while attempting to lift the Siege of Compiegne. In 1568, Louis of Nassau’s[...]



Orioles embarrassed by Twins, lose 14-7

2017-05-22T22:45:40-04:00

The pitching was terrible. It was so, so bad. Tonight the Orioles faced Kyle Gibson, a pitcher who came into the game with an 8.20 ERA. After five innings he departed the game having given up six runs and with an ERA of 8.62. AND HE GOT THE WIN. How did he get the win, you ask? How on earth was it possible? Well, I have a two-part answer for you. Part one is this: Ubaldo Jimenez. Part two? Tyler Wilson. The two combined to give up 12 runs in just 5 1⁄3 innings. When people say that a game was a dumpster fire, it’s this kind of game to which they are referring. The Orioles had a 5-0 lead at one point and were leading 6-2 when the horribleness began. The Twins scored 12 unanswered runs. A dozen! If we’re grading on a curve, Jimenez’s first three innings actually didn’t look too bad. He didn’t look great, not even close, but on the Ubaldo scale he was all right. He gave up a run in the third inning, but since the base runner who scored reached on a ball that was erroneously called fair (and then erroneously held up via replay), I was willing to cut him some slack. But as is often the case with Jimenez, when things fell apart they really fell apart. He struggled through the fourth inning, giving up a home run to Max Kepler and then allowing two more base runners before finally getting out of it. And in the fifth inning he just completely imploded. First Ubaldo gave up three straight singles to load the bases, followed by a double, which finally led to Buck Showalter pulling him from the game. The Orioles were still ahead at that point, but relief pitcher Tyler Wilson ruined that in short order. Wilson allowed two inherited runners to score but finally got out of the inning when Welington Castillo picked off Byron Buxton. Thanks, Beef! So after five innings the game was tied 6-6 which is far from ideal but still a game that can be salvaged. Again, Wilson ruined that. The top of the sixth inning was the stuff nightmares are made of. Let me just make a list of what the Twins did to start the inning against Wilson: Byron Buxton singles Brian Dozier lines out Buxton steals second base Robbie Grossman walks Joe Mauer doubles. Buxton scores, Grossman to third Miguel Sano singles. Grossman scores, Mauer to second Max Kepler reaches on an error by Jonathan Schoop. Mauer scores Eduardo Escobar doubles. Sano Scores. Kepler scores. Just like that the game was basically over for the Orioles. But shockingly it got worse! Wilson was relieved by Stefan Crichton. Crichton immediately gave up a double and then, with two outs he balked in a run. He dropped the baseball. He literally dropped the ball. Crichton spent the next few innings being the only non-crappy Oriole to pitch in the game as he logged 3 1⁄3 innings and was one out from finishing the game when he gave up a two-run homer to Miguel Sano to make the score 14-6. That meant that Richard Bleier had to come in to get the last out of the 9th. He was able to do so despite Schoop prolonging the inning by misplaying a ball that was scored an infield single. So, all of that happened. Jimenez was terrible, but he will probably still make his next start because who is going to replace him (and will Buck actually do it)? Wilson was even worse and he is likely on the next bus back to triple-A Norfolk. It’s just disgusting when your team scores six runs, including the first five of the game, and everyone has to sit back and watch it get blown out of the water by abysmal pitching. Do you want to hear about the seven runs that the Orioles scored? I guess we could talk about that too. Five of them came in the second inning. That was a very nice inning. I liked it. It started with Welington Castillo at first base thanks to a fielder’s choice. Mancini doubled to the deepest part of center field which gave Castillo time to score. J.J. Hardy followed with a single[...]