Tag Archive | "Baltimore"

Orioles add Matusz, subtract Jimenez as only change for ALCS roster

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Orioles add Matusz, subtract Jimenez as only change for ALCS roster

Posted on 10 October 2014 by Luke Jones

On the morning of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, the Orioles announced their series roster with only one change made from the 25-man group they fielded against the Detroit Tigers in the first round.

Lefty reliever Brian Matusz was added to the bullpen while right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez was subtracted as the Orioles will meet the Kansas City Royals for the first time ever in the postseason. With Kansas City sporting a regular lineup that includes four left-handed hitters, Matusz could potentially see some situational opportunities after being left off the AL Division Series roster due to the Tigers’ ability to feast on left-handed pitching.

The Orioles had been considering adding left-handed long reliever T.J. McFarland to their ALCS roster before once again electing to keep 14 position players, including both Kelly Johnson and Jimmy Paredes. The decision does leave the Orioles without a great deal of length in their bullpen should they want to use right-hander Kevin Gausman in high-leverage situations.

Jimenez did not appear in the ALDS after his inclusion on the roster surprised many observers.

As manager Buck Showalter confirmed on Thursday, infielder Chris Davis was left off the ALCS roster since he has five games remaining on his 25-game ban for amphetamine use. Davis rejoined the club for the ALCS workout day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards Thursday and is now allowed to be with the Orioles while waiting for his suspension to expire.

If there’s a postponement Friday night, the Orioles and Royals may resubmit rosters as the prospects of playing five straight days would certainly change starting pitching plans. However, if they start Friday’s game and it’s suspended due to rain, teams may not alter their rosters.

Below is the ALCS roster, which can be altered should the Orioles advance to their first World Series in 31 years.

CATCHERS
Nick Hundley (R)
Caleb Joseph (R)

INFIELDERS
Ryan Flaherty (L)
J.J. Hardy (R)
Kelly Johnson (L)
Jimmy Paredes (S)
Steve Pearce (R)
Jonathan Schoop (R)

OUTFIELDERS
Nelson Cruz (R)
Alejandro De Aza (L)
Adam Jones (R)
David Lough (L)
Nick Markakis (L)
Delmon Young (R)

STARTING PITCHERS
LHP Wei-Yin Chen
RHP Miguel Gonzalez
RHP Bud Norris
RHP Chris Tillman

RELIEF PITCHERS
RHP Brad Brach
LHP Zach Britton
RHP Kevin Gausman
RHP Tommy Hunter
LHP Brian Matusz
LHP Andrew Miller
RHP Darren O’Day

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Sizing up the Orioles-Royals American League Championship Series

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Sizing up the Orioles-Royals American League Championship Series

Posted on 10 October 2014 by Luke Jones

With the start of the American League Championship Series now upon us, here’s how I see the Orioles and Royals stacking up in their first-ever postseason meeting …

Offense
Advantage: BALTIMORE
Skinny: The Royals play small ball better than anyone, but the Orioles don’t waste outs and have the ability to dramatically change a game with one swing of the bat and scored 54 more runs during the regular season.

Defense
Advantage: BALTIMORE
Skinny: Kansas City is very strong in the outfield and behind the plate, but the Orioles have a clear edge in infield defense, which tips the scale in their favor in this category.

Starting pitching
Advantage: KANSAS CITY
Skinny: The Royals’ starter ERA of 3.60 was just a hair better than the Orioles’ 3.61 mark and the veteran presence of James Shields gives Kansas City someone who’s pitched in a number of big games before.

Bullpen
Advantage: BALTIMORE
Skinny: The trio of Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera is every bit as good as Zach Britton, Andrew Miller, and Darren O’Day, but the Orioles are a little bit deeper beyond that, which is more significant in a seven-game format.

Speed
Advantage: KANSAS CITY
Skinny: There isn’t a more lopsided advantage for either club as the Royals stole 153 bases to lead the majors while Baltimore managed just 44 to rank last in that statistic.

Intangibles
Advantage: BALTIMORE
Skinny: The Royals were riding a wave of momentum in topping Oakland and the Angels to advance to the ALCS, but the Orioles endured everything thrown their way this year on the way to 96 wins.

Coaching
Advantage: BALTIMORE
Skinny: Royals manager Ned Yost deserves credit for allowing his young players to be themselves this season after he was previously more of a taskmaster, but Buck Showalter is the better tactician and it isn’t really close.

Unsung hero – Kevin Gausman
Skinny: In a best-of-seven format, there’s bound to be a start or two that isn’t up to par for either side and Gausman’s stuff in a shorter stint in relief is a wild card that we already saw play out in Game 2 of the AL Division Series.

Prediction – Orioles in six games
Skinny: Once you move past their different styles offensively, Baltimore and Kansas City are quite similar in every other phase of the game, making this series difficult to predict. However, the emotional wave that the Royals were riding against the Athletics and the Angels had a chance to subside over the last five days while the Orioles simply looked like themselves against Detroit and were the better club than Kansas City over the course of 162 games.

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D. Smith, Elam, Zuttah return to practice on Thursday

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D. Smith, Elam, Zuttah return to practice on Thursday

Posted on 09 October 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens produced a more encouraging injury report on Thursday with the return of three starters to the practice field as they continued preparations for a Week 6 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Safety Matt Elam (shoulder contusion), linebacker Daryl Smith (knee), and center Jeremy Zuttah (ankle) all practiced on a limited basis a day after sitting out with their respective ailments. Baltimore was without eight players from their 53-man roster during Wednesday’s workout.

The Ravens are expected to be without defensive end Chris Canty (wrist surgery), offense tackle Eugene Monroe (knee surgery), and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (meniscus) on Sunday as all three are dealing with longer-term injuries.

There were no changes to Tampa Bay’s injury report on Thursday as wide receiver Vincent Jackson (rib) and safety Dashon Goldson (ankle) remained sidelined.

Here is Thursday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S Matt Elam (shoulder), LB Daryl Smith (knee), C Jeremy Zuttah (ankle)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Marlon Brown (pelvis), DE Chris Canty (wrist), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), T Eugene Monroe (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (knee)

TAMPA BAY
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Johnthan Banks (neck), LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), S Dashon Goldson (ankle), WR Vincent Jackson (rib), QB Josh McCown (right thumb)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Larry English (hamstring), WR Mike Evans (groin)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Mason Foster (shoulder)

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Orioles viewed as World Series favorite by Bovada

Posted on 09 October 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV)

Odds to win the 2014 World Series

Baltimore Orioles                       11/5

St. Louis Cardinals                    13/5

San Francisco Giants                13/5

Kansas City Royals                   13/4

 

2014 World Series Exact Matchup

Baltimore Orioles vs St. Louis Cardinals             9/5

Baltimore Orioles vs San Francisco Giants         9/4

Kansas City Royals vs St. Louis Cardinals          11/4

Kansas City Royals vs San Francisco Giants      13/4

 

Royals vs. Orioles

Series Price

Baltimore Orioles                       -140     (5/7)

Kansas City Royals                   +120     (6/5)

 

Exact Series Result     

Kansas City Royals 4-0              15/1

Kansas City Royals 4-1              6/1

Kansas City Royals 4-2              5/1

Kansas City Royals 4-3              5/1

Baltimore Orioles 4-0                 10/1

Baltimore Orioles 4-1                 11/2

Baltimore Orioles 4-2                 15/4

Baltimore Orioles 4-3                 15/4

 

Total Games in Series 

4                      6/1

5                      12/5

6                      7/4

7                      9/5

 

How many games will go to extra innings?     

Over                 ½         2/3

Under               ½         11/10

 

How many calls will get overturned after replay?        

Over                 1          4/7

Under               1          7/5

 

Total Home Runs – Kansas City Royals

Over/Under                   3½

 

Total Home Runs – Baltimore Orioles  

Over/Under                   6½

 

Will any game end on a Walkoff hit?   

Yes                  7/5

No                    4/7

 

How many steals will the Kansas City Royals Record?

Over/Under                   6

 

Giants vs. Cardinals

Series Price

St. Louis Cardinals                    – 130     (10/13)

San Francisco Giants                +110     (11/10)

 

Exact Series Result     

San Francisco Giants 4-0           12/1

San Francisco Giants 4-1           6/1

San Francisco Giants 4-2           5/1

San Francisco Giants 4-3           9/2

St. Louis Cardinals 4-0               12/1

St. Louis Cardinals 4-1               11/2

St. Louis Cardinals 4-2               4/1

St. Louis Cardinals 4-3               15/4

 

Total Games in Series 

4                      6/1

5                      5/2

6                      17/10

7                      9/5

 

How many games will go to extra innings?     

Over                 ½         2/3

Under               ½         11/10

 

How many calls will get overturned after replay?        

Over                 1          4/7

Under               1          7/5

 

Total Home Runs – San Francisco Giants        

Over/Under                   4½

 

Total Home Runs – St Louis Cardinals

Over/Under                   4

 

Will any game end on a Walkoff hit?   

Yes                  7/5

No                    4/7

 

Will a pitcher hit a Home Run in the Series?   

Yes                  7/2

No                    1/6

 

Additional Props

Will any manager get ejected during the League Championship Series

Yes                  7/4

No                    5/13

 

Will any League Championship Series end in 4 Games?         

Yes                  5/2

No                    1/4

 

Will any League Championship Series end in 7 Games?                     

Yes                  5/6

No                    5/6

 

Who will hit the most Home Runs in the League Championship Series?

Nelson Cruz (BAL)                     4/1

Adam Jones (BAL)                    8/1

Steve Pearce (BAL)                   19/2

Nick Markakis (BAL)                  14/1

Jonathan Schoop (BAL)             14/1

J.J. Hardy (BAL)                        15/1

Matt Adams (STL)                     16/1

Matt Holliday (STL)                    16/1

Jhonny Peralta (STL)                 16/1

Mike Moustakas (KC)                16/1

Caleb Joseph (BAL)                  16/1

Buster Posey (SF)                     16/1

Eric Hosmer (KC)                      16/1

Billy Butler (KC)                         20/1

Alex Gordon (KC)                      20/1

Salvador Perez (KC)                  20/1

Pablo Sandoval (SF)                 20/1

Hunter Pence (SF)                     20/1

Kolten Wong (STL)                    20/1

Brandon Belt (SF)                      25/1

Travis Ishikawa (BAL)                 25/1

Yadier Molina (STL)                   25/1

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Orioles must slow speedy Royals in quest for AL pennant

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Orioles must slow speedy Royals in quest for AL pennant

Posted on 09 October 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Orioles manager Buck Showalter almost sounded coy when asked about the speed of the Kansas City Royals as his club made final preparations for the American League Championship Series scheduled to get underway Friday night.

With five Royals players recording double-digit steals in the regular season and another rookie — Terrance Gore — stealing three bases in his first four postseason games, the Orioles face a tall order in slowing Kansas City’s speed demons, a factor many view as a potential tipping point between two clubs that are very similar beyond their contrasting offensive styles.

“They’re not automatically going to all of a sudden run slower tomorrow,” Showalter said. “If anything, they’re going to run faster. You don’t control that. It’s impossible. It’s one of those givens. Try to keep them off base as much as you can.”

Sure, there’s no better remedy for neutralizing speed than preventing runners from reaching first, but the Orioles don’t sound nearly as concerned about the Kansas City running game Thursday as the many outsiders trying to break down this matchup. As some ponder whether the season-ending elbow injury to Gold Glove catcher Matt Wieters will finally catch up to Baltimore in this best-of-seven series, the Orioles spent Thursday pointing out that their regular style of play always involves containing an opponent’s running game.

Most of the attention falls on the shoulders of the catching tandem of Nick Hundley and Caleb Joseph, but the ability to stop potential thievery runs deeper.

Even with the two-time Gold Glove selection Wieters limited to just 22 games behind the plate this season before an elbow injury eventually led to Tommy John surgery, opponents still attempted the fourth-fewest number of steals in the AL against Baltimore this season. The Orioles ranked sixth in the AL by throwing out 28 percent of runners trying to steal with Joseph — a 28-year-old rookie not known for his defensive work in the minors — and the veteran Hundley handling the catching duties for much of the season.

And that’s when you begin to see where the real responsibility lies in controlling an opponent’s running game.

“The easiest way [to neutralize it] is quick times to the plate, no question,” said former Orioles outfielder and current vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson, who swiped 315 bases in his 15-year career. “As a base stealer, you steal bases off the pitcher. It doesn’t matter to me if [13-time Gold Glove winner] Ivan Rodriguez was behind the plate; if the pitcher was slow, I’m going.”

Look no further than Game 1 starter Chris Tillman to see how much emphasis the Orioles have placed on pitchers being fast to the plate and holding runners since Showalter’s arrival during the 2010 season. The 6-foot-5 right-hander was admittedly poor when it came to holding runners during his early years with the Orioles before Showalter and Wieters preached the need for him to shorten his delivery to prevent runners from going wild on the bases.

It was a mindset that several pitchers have needed to learn the hard way during Showalter’s tenure, with some even earning demotions to the minors as a result.

Tillman has not only posted back-to-back 200-inning seasons to emerge as the ace of the Baltimore rotation, but the 26-year-old has allowed only two stolen bases since the start of the 2013 season.

“When Buck got here, it was a big pet peeve of his,” Tillman said. “You’ve got to be quick and give your catchers a chance. Anytime the opposing guys get an extra 90 feet for free, you’re not doing yourself a favor. It’s an organizational thing now. Early on, I don’t think it was. I was young and immature and didn’t know any better, to tell you the truth.”

Of course, the Royals aren’t just any other club in stealing 153 bases to lead the majors in the regular season, and they appear to have only gotten better in that department with the addition of the speedy Gore to go along with Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson, Alcides Escobar, and Nori Aoki. They have gone a remarkable 12-for-13 attempting to steal in four postseason games.

But the Orioles feel confident in their scouting and preparation and their biggest weapon in helping to neutralize an opponent’s running game, which is none other than bench coach John Russell.

“A lot of it comes from the bench,” Hundley said. “John Russell does an unbelievable job knowing tendencies, knowing when to throw over, knowing when to pitch out. He doesn’t get enough credit. He controls all the pick-offs and all that stuff. How good he is at it helps us out — me and Caleb — a bunch. And it takes a lot of pressure off the pitchers, because they know he’ll put them in a very successful position.”

It remains to be seen how Showalter will distribute the catching duties over the course of the series, but Hundley is expected to start Game 1. The 31-year-old veteran acquired from the San Diego Padres in late May handled a larger portion of the playing time down the stretch despite throwing out only 19 percent of runners trying to steal this season. In contrast, Joseph gunned down 40 percent during his rookie season even though his defense was often viewed as a hindrance in his minor-league development for years.

Regardless of who might be behind the plate, the mindset isn’t expected to change for Orioles pitchers as they will do what they always do — even against the speedy Royals.

“All the pitchers feel comfortable with it, because it’s something we’ve always put the onus on,” Wieters said. “It shouldn’t be anything different in their minds as far as what they need to do. They stick with their same times to the plate, and it gives us a chance. As a catcher, that’s all you want. There are certain guys that you won’t throw out, but we feel like every pitcher out there is giving the catcher a chance to make a good throw and hopefully get an out.”

Ultimately, the Orioles know they can’t reinvent the wheel when trying to slow a club that ran wild against the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card Game and continued their aggressiveness against the Los Angeles Angels in a three-game sweep in the AL Division Series. They’ll simply stick with their regular habits of being quick to the plate and holding runners effectively while likely being savvy in attempting to interrupt runners’ timing with pick-off attempts or by simply holding the ball a little longer in some instances.

Showalter isn’t going to change who the Orioles are at this late stage, nor should he try to with a club that won 96 games this season with plenty of its own strengths. And he saw firsthand in September how a pitcher can fall apart on the hill if he’s dwelling on a fast runner and not focusing on the hitter at the plate.

“We’ve talked about it, but we’re not going to rob from Peter to pay Paul,” Showalter said. “I think one time we had Quintin [Berry] pinch‑running for us late in the year, and without naming the [opposing] pitcher, you could tell his whole delivery changed trying to keep him from stealing second. He gave up three hits, back to back to back. We didn’t steal a base, but we didn’t have to.

“But we’ve got some things that they might have to adjust to, too.”

The biggest key will be maintaining their mental toughness by not allowing Kansas City’s preference for a track meet to take away from what they do best.

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Orioles sign shortstop Hardy to three-year extension

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Orioles sign shortstop Hardy to three-year extension

Posted on 09 October 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — On the eve of their first appearance in the American League Championship Series in 17 years, the Orioles didn’t wait to wait any longer to lock up shortstop J.J. Hardy to a three-year extension to keep him in Baltimore beyond this October.

The Orioles announced a new contract with the 32-year-old infielder Thursday evening. The deal is for three years with an option and worth upward of $40 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

“I knew that I liked it here, I knew that I liked playing with all my teammates,” Hardy said. “The whole coaching staff, I enjoyed playing for them. I believe that Dan [Duquette], Buck [Showalter], and the Angelos family, they’re all going to continue doing everything they possibly can to make this organization better. Bottom line [is] it comes down to winning, and I think we’ve got a good thing here.”

Hardy has spent the last four years in Baltimore and was in the final season of a three-year, $22.5 million extension signed during the 2011 campaign, his first with the Orioles after he was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Twins on Dec. 9, 2010. The two-time Gold Glove winner was expected to draw heavy interest from other clubs this winter with the New York Yankees topping the list as they look to replace the retired Derek Jeter.

While the Orioles remain focused on advancing to their first World Series in 31 years, the Hardy signing crosses one item off the list of offseason priorities that still includes the impending free agency of outfielders Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz as well as lefty reliever Andrew Miller.

“Why not now really?” said Duquette when asked about the unusual timing of the shortstop’s extension. “When we looked at the market, we thought the best chance to sign J.J. was before he went to free agency, because he’s distinguished himself as one of the top shortstops in the league, and J.J. let us know that he wanted to continue his career here in Baltimore.”

Battling back issues at two different points this season, Hardy hit .268 with nine home runs and 52 runs batted in over 141 games. The shortstop slugged 22 or more homers in each of his first three seasons with the Orioles and acknowledged his back issues impacted his swing, which likely explains the drop in power.

But Hardy’s value extends beyond his own defensive ability and power at the plate as manager Buck Showalter has credited the shortstop for playing a major role in the development of injured third baseman Manny Machado and rookie second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Baltimore has possessed one of the best defensive infields in all of baseball over the last three seasons as Hardy’s experience and baseball intelligence has helped with the positioning of fielders.

“I hope J.J. ends his career here,” Showalter said. “It makes us a better club. He’s been solid. You’re always looking for things you can count on, and you never take for granted what J.J. brings. It’s so hard to do. I’ve said it before, [but] I think he’s flashy in his own way because he’s not looking for attention. His biggest thing he wants to get out of a day’s work is a win.”

According to FOX Sports, the Orioles are also pushing to complete a contract extension with Cruz, who led the club with a career-high 40 homers and was named Most Valuable Oriole by the local media. However, Duquette said his focus remains on Game 1 of the ALCS when asked if he was working on extensions with any of the Orioles’ other scheduled free agents.

Markakis said Thursday he was unaware of any contract discussions between the Orioles and his agent.

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Ten talking points for Orioles-Royals ALCS matchup

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Ten talking points for Orioles-Royals ALCS matchup

Posted on 08 October 2014 by Luke Jones

As the Orioles prepare to play the Kansas City Royals for the first time ever in the postseason and for the right to advance to their first World Series in 31 years, here are 10 talking points to break down their meeting in the American League Championship Series beginning Friday night:

1. It isn’t Eddie Murray vs. George Brett, but the tradition of yesteryear in each city makes this series a blast.

Yes, it’s been three decades since either the Orioles or Royals found themselves playing in the Fall Classic, but that’s what makes this series so much fun as younger baseball fan will be exposed to the history of each franchise. From 1973 through 1985, Baltimore and Kansas City combined to win two World Series titles, four AL pennants, and 10 division championships and were regarded as two of the model franchises in the major leagues. This history may not mean much to the current players or have any impact on the play on the field, but the fans’ thirst for a World Series will be palpable at both Kauffman Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

2. You won’t find more contrasting offensive styles with the stakes so high.

It’s thunder against lightning as the Orioles led the major leagues with 211 home runs while the Royals stole more bases (153) than any of the 29 other clubs. Meanwhile, Baltimore stole the fewest number of bases (44) in the big leagues and Kansas City ranked 30th with only 95 home runs. Five Royals players hit double digits in swiped bags while the Orioles’ leader in the category was David Lough with eight. Seven Orioles hit 12 or more homers — Manny Machado and Chris Davis will not play in this series — compared to just three for Kansas City. Despite their contrasting styles, the Orioles finished the regular season ranked sixth in the AL in runs with 705 compared to Kansas City coming in ninth with 651. Baltimore has the better offense over the long haul, but the Royals will try to turn a short series into a 100-meter dash while the Orioles emphasize their advantage in the shot put.

3. The Royals stack up more favorably to the Baltimore defense that Detroit did.

The Orioles still have the edge in the field, but Kansas City has a number of Gold Glove-caliber players including catcher Salvador Perez and outfielders Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain. The Orioles rank third in the AL in BaseballReference.com’s defensive efficiency statistic while the Royals came in sixth in the regular season. Baltimore made the third-fewest number of errors (87) in the AL this season while Kansas City ranked 10th with 104. Both clubs made sparkling plays in the Division Series and rely on their defense to make a difference in close games.

4. Scoring early will be a high priority for both clubs.

Unlike the luxury the Orioles had against Detroit in the Division Series, they cannot expect to wait out starting pitchers for scoring opportunities in the late inning against the Royals, whose trio of Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera might be even better than their own triumvirate of Zach Britton, Andrew Miller, and Darren O’Day. The Orioles’ 3.10 bullpen ERA ranked third in the AL while Kansas City’s 3.30 mark ranked fifth, which will cause both lineups to feel the urgency to break through prior to the sixth inning. Even with so many other great names in each bullpen, the wild cards could be right-hander Kevin Gausman and Kansas City lefty Brandon Finnegan, who made a major impact in the Wild Card Game after only being drafted in the first round out of Texas Christian a few months ago.

5. The spotlight will be much brighter on Adam Jones to produce in this series.

It’s cruel to judge any player on a sample size of only 37 at-bats, but the Orioles center fielder has amassed only four hits in his postseason career and will feel the heat if his bat doesn’t wake up in the ALCS. Being an aggressive hitter throughout his career, Jones must fight the urge to over-swing, especially when he has opportunities to drive in runs. The 29-year-old singled and walked in his final two plate appearances of the ALDS, which the Orioles hope are signs of better things to come this October for a player who’s meant so much to the club’s success over the last three years. Nelson Cruz carried the Orioles in the ALDS, but Jones waking up would make them even more difficult to beat in a best-of-seven series.

6. The Orioles are better equipped to handle Kansas City’s jackrabbits on the base paths.

The Royals are an incredible 12-for-13 attempting to steal in the postseason, which has certainly provided Buck Showalter with some restless nights this week. However, the Orioles will have more success in slowing Kansas City runners than either Oakland or the Angels because of their focus on slowing an opposing club’s running game. Baltimore ranked sixth in the AL by throwing out 28 percent of runners attempting to steal, but the fact that they faced the fourth-fewest number of stolen base attempts is a reflection of how well pitchers hold runners and how quick they are to the plate to help catchers Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley. Of the two, Joseph is more adept at gunning down runners (a 40 percent success rate to Hundley’s 19 percent), so it will be interesting to see how much more Showalter might lean on the younger catcher in this series after Hundley started two of the three ALDS games.

7. Former Oriole starter Jeremy Guthrie pitching against his former club in the ALCS will be somewhat surreal.

With apologies to Baltimore reserve Jimmy Paredes, Guthrie is the most intriguing name to face his former team in this series and had the misfortune of being dealt away from the Orioles just before their resurgence in 2012. The classy right-hander has found a home with the Royals where he’s continued to be a solid member of the rotation and has been rewarded with a taste of the postseason after pitching respectably on some otherwise awful Orioles clubs from 2007 through 2011. Though Guthrie probably wouldn’t be slated to start before Game 4 unless the Royals elect to go with Danny Duffy in the rotation and put him in the bullpen, it will be interesting to see the Orioles face the 35-year-old, who acts as a symbol of the club’s past as they seek their first AL pennant in 31 years.

8. Neither club received enough credit for its starting pitching during the regular season.

The Orioles and Royals are known for their stout bullpens, but their rotations have been very effective despite lacking big names. The projected Game 1 starters, Chris Tillman and James Shields, are two of the better pitchers in the AL — the latter for a longer period of time — but each has just one All-Star appearance to his name. Baltimore’s starter ERA of 3.61 ranked just a hair below the Royals’ fourth-ranked 3.60 mark in the AL. The strong bullpens for both sides decrease the chances of any starter pitching particularly deep into games, but there’s no reason to think either side will have problems in this department.

9. This series may feature the two best relievers in baseball right now — and neither are closers.

While Britton and Holland have been two of the best ninth-inning men in baseball in 2014, Miller and Davis are the scariest weapons in their respective bullpens as they combined to strike out 212 hitters in 134 1/3 innings during the regular season. Miller’s ERA was 1.35 in 23 regular-season appearances for the Orioles after being dealt by Boston while Davis posted a 1.00 ERA in 71 appearances for Kansas City this year. Showalter has already demonstrated he’s not afraid to use Miller for more than one inning in the postseason while Davis was a starter as recently as last season, making you think he can be stretched out as well. Regardless of who ends up winning this series, it would be shocking if Miller and Davis aren’t the busiest bullpen arms in the best-of-seven showdown.

10. Buck Showalter has a sizable advantage over Ned Yost on this stage.

The strong sentiment shared among many around baseball is that the Royals have won in spite of their manager, who prefers the small-ball tactics detested by sabermetricians. Meanwhile, Showalter often speaks of his preference to not waste his offense’s 27 outs per game and rarely calls for sacrifice bunts and other tactics such as the hit and run. You do wonder if the Orioles’ strong bullpen will press Yost to lean even more on manufacturing runs than he normally does, but Showalter is more likely to stay the course with his lineup — even against the Royals’ stingy relievers. As for bullpen management, the skipper who is more willing to break the standard thinking of when to use his relievers will give his team the edge. Showalter is the superior tactician and has already shown his willingness to stretch his best relievers during the Division Series.

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Start times announced for remaining games of ALCS

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Start times announced for remaining games of ALCS

Posted on 08 October 2014 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 9:45 p.m. Wednesday)

Major League Baseball announced the remaining start times of all games of the American League Championship Series as the Orioles will welcome the Kansas City Royals to Oriole Park at Camden Yards beginning on Friday.

Game 1 will begin at 8:07 p.m. Friday as the ALCS will have the stage to itself with the National League Championship Series not getting underway until the next day. The Royals announced that right-hander James Shields will make the start in the series opener while manager Buck Showalter is expected to send Chris Tillman to the hill for the Orioles.

The second game of the best-of-seven series will begin at 4:07 p.m. Saturday before the teams move to Kansas City to continue the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium.

Games 3 and 4 will begin at 8:07 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday while Game 5 would begin at 4:07 p.m. Wednesday if necessary. If the series continues, Games 6 and 7 would also be played at 8:07 p.m. next Friday and Saturday night at Camden Yards.

The entire series will be televised on TBS.

In other news, Zach Britton and his wife, Courtney, became the parents of a baby boy as Zander Lee Britton was born Tuesday night in California. The Orioles closer is expected to be back with his club for Thursday’s workout at Camden Yards.

 

 

 

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Eight Ravens players missing from Wednesday’s practice

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Eight Ravens players missing from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 08 October 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens were without eight players as they returned to the practice field Wednesday ahead of their Week 6 meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Safety Matt Elam (shoulder), left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee), center Jeremy Zuttah (ankle), inside linebacker Daryl Smith (knee), wide receiver Marlon Brown (pelvis), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (meniscus), left tackle Eugene Monroe (knee surgery), and defensive end Chris Canty (wrist surgery) were all absent during the portion of practice open to media. Head coach John Harbaugh provided an encouraging prognosis on Elam and Osemele during his Monday press conference, which quells concerns about their absence for the first full practice of the week.

“‘K.O.’ is OK. He had a bruise,” Harbaugh said. “It turned out to be a bruise from hyperextension a little bit, but he played the rest of the game. He’s sore, but he looks OK. And Matt Elam had a contusion on his shoulder. He’s a tough guy that played the rest of the way. He should be OK.”

Cornerback Dominique Franks and tight end Ryan Taylor were both present a day after being added to the 53-man roster. The Ravens officially placed cornerback Asa Jackson on injured reserve-designated to return Wednesday to make room for Franks and waived tight end Phillip Supernaw to clear a roster spot for Taylor, who was claimed off waivers from the Green Bay Packers.

Jackson will not eligible to return until the Ravens’ Week 14 meeting against the Miami Dolphins, meaning the Ravens will depend on Lardarius Webb to return to his starting role after dealing with a back injury for more than two months. Franks and fourth-year cornerback Chykie Brown will compete for playing time at the No. 3 cornerback spot, but Elam has also played extensively at the nickel spot this season.

“Dominique is going to do a good job for us,” Harbaugh said. “He was here in training camp and did well. He’s a good football player. We liked him then, and we’re fortunate that he’s still available.”

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay was without starting free safety Dashon Goldson (ankle) and wide receiver Vincent Jackson (rib) during Wednesday’s practice. The good news for the Buccaneers was the limited participation of rookie wideout Mike Evans, who’s been limited with a groin injury for the last two weeks.

Here is Wednesday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Marlon Brown (pelvis), DE Chris Canty (wrist), S Matt Elam (shoulder), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), T Eugene Monroe (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (knee), LB Daryl Smith (knee), C Jeremy Zuttah (ankle)

TAMPA BAY
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Johnthan Banks (neck), LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), S Dashon Goldson (ankle), WR Vincent Jackson (rib), QB Josh McCown (right thumb)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Larry English (hamstring), WR Mike Evans (groin)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Mason Foster (shoulder)

 

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Ravens support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on 08 October 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

This October, the Baltimore Ravens will support Breast Cancer Awareness Month through a variety of initiatives, and the efforts will be highlighted when the Ravens take on the Falcons (Oct. 19, 1 p.m.) at M&T Bank Stadium. These initiatives include:

Sunday, Oct. 12

The Ravens have partnered with the American Cancer Society (ACS) through support of the nonprofit’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event on Sunday, Oct. 12. Ravens fans are encouraged to join Team Purple and will receive a commemorative t-shirt as a thank you gift.

Fans can visit: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/RavensTeamPurple

Monday, Oct. 13

· Breast Cancer Awareness Month efforts will continue on Monday, Oct. 13 when Ravens players visit with breast cancer patients who are currently undergoing treatment at The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy Medical Center. (Details to follow on Thursday this week.)

Sunday, Oct. 19 vs. Falcons

· Ravens staff, family members and volunteers will distribute over 50,000 pink ribbons to fans as they enter M&T Bank stadium gates on Sunday before the Ravens’ designated Breast Cancer Awareness game. In collaboration with ACS, the initiative, called A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives, reminds women 40 and older about the importance of having an annual mammogram.

· Prior to the game’s kickoff, approximately 20 women – a combination of breast cancer survivors and those currently undergoing treatment – will be honored during an on-field ceremonial tribute.

· The Ravens will also incorporate many pink elements into the Oct. 19 game. Ravens players and coaches will wear pink items throughout the game, including cleats, gloves, hats, wristbands, Gatorade towels and more. Ravens cheerleaders will sport pink pom-poms, team mascot Poe will wear a pink New Era cap, and members of Baltimore’s Marching Ravens will wear pink plumes. In addition, M&T Bank Stadium will feature on-field and in-stadium branding, and the Ravens Gameday magazine will feature a pink hue.

· Game-worn pink merchandise, along with special game balls and pink coins, will be auctioned off at www.nflauction.nfl.com, with proceeds benefiting the ACS’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program. To date, the NFL’s program has raised approximately $7 million for breast cancer awareness, prevention and research efforts as a result of the A Crucial Catch campaign, with the majority of the funding coming from the sale of pink NFL Auction items.

Saturday, Oct. 25

· The NFL’s A Crucial Catch campaign has provided another year of funding to support increased access to breast cancer education and screening resources in underserved communities through the ACS. The ACS has awarded a $50,000 Community Health Advocates implementing National Grants for Empowerment CHANGE grant to the Family Health Centers of Baltimore in Cherry Hill, continuing efforts to increase breast cancer screenings in the community. As part of the grant, the Ravens will participate in A Crucial Catch Day on Saturday, Oct. 25, a nationwide event held in cities across the country to help women receive breast cancer education and screenings. Pre-registered women will learn ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer and the importance of early detection at the Family Health Centers of Baltimore in Cherry Hill.

For more information, please visit www.BaltimoreRavens.com/community.

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