Posted on 31 July 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 31 July 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 30 July 2014 by Luke Jones
BALTIMORE — The Orioles received bad news about one of their top pitching prospects Wednesday as 19-year-old Hunter Harvey will be shut down for the rest of the season due to right elbow inflammation and a flexor mass strain.
The 2013 first-round pick went 7-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 17 starts covering 87 2/3 innings this season, earning an invitation to the Futures Game during All-Star weekend in Minnesota earlier this month. The right-hander last pitched on June 25 when he allowed four earned runs and eight hits over five innings but had allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his previous four starts.
“Hunter saw our doctors [Tuesday], and he has an issue with his elbow, so he won’t be pitching anymore the rest of the season,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Wednesday at Camden Yards. “I need to learn a little more about it. He’s had a good year, and he has distinguished himself as a top young pitcher. And he needs a rest period.”
Duquette added that the injury is not believed to require surgery at this time. The structure of Harvey’s ulnar collateral ligament is supposedly sound, but fellow top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy was given the same initial diagnosis last year before ultimately needing Tommy John surgery when a period of rest did not produce the desired healing.
Taken with the 22nd overall pick of last year’s draft, Harvey saw his stock soaring this season and was named the No. 13 prospect in all of baseball by ESPN’s Keith Law earlier this month. The North Carolina native is the son of former major league closer Bryan Harvey.
Posted on 30 July 2014 by Luke Jones
BALTIMORE — Addressing a flurry of trade rumors centering around the Orioles targeting Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester on Wednesday afternoon, Dan Duquette did his best to throw a blanket on the fire.
The executive vice president of baseball operations reiterated his long-held position of not wanting to deal the organization’s top pitching prospects and dismissed reports that the Orioles were closing in on a deal for the three-time All-Star hurler.
“Well, that would be news to me,” said Duquette, who acknowledged an obvious interest in adding a top-of-the-rotation pitcher if possible. “Some of the long-term prospects for our pitching are very valuable to the long-term sustainability of the organization, and I think that’s a real important component to have a good team year in and year out. I think if we were to err with our young pitchers, we would be conservative and we’d try to give them a long trial in the big leagues before trading them.”
Duquette said Tuesday he was focused on adding depth to the rotation rather than making a blockbuster move, making it unlikely the Orioles would pull the trigger on a deal for Lester that would involve Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, or Hunter Harvey. Of course, Wednesday’s news of Harvey being shut down for the rest of the season due to right elbow inflammation and a flexor mass strain further diminished the likelihood of the Orioles moving a top prospect.
Lester was scratched for his scheduled start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday as several teams remain interested in his services. A free agent at the end of the season, the lefty is 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 21 starts spanning 143 innings this year.
Multiple reports have stated the Orioles are interested in Chicago Cubs utility player Emilio Bonifacio, who has played center field as well as three infield spots this season. The switch-hitting 29-year-old is hitting .279 with two home runs, 18 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases and has posted a 1.024 on-base plus slugging percentage against left-handed pitching this season.
Baltimore also remains interested in adding another late-inning reliever to its bullpen for the stretch run.
“We’re still talking to a number of teams,” Duquette said. “We have not consummated a deal yet, but we’re talking to a couple of teams. We hope we’ll be able to add some people to our organization.”
Posted on 29 July 2014 by Luke Jones
BALTIMORE — With Thursday’s trade deadline quickly approaching, the Orioles weren’t offering a vibe that a significant deal was imminent as they returned home from a long West Coast trip to begin a three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.
Even with a Fox Sports report on Monday saying the Orioles had inquired about the availability of Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette reiterated a day later that he is not interested in giving away the top prizes of his minor league system, which include pitchers Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey as well as current Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman. Duquette told reporters that adding pitching depth remains a priority, which could come in the form of another starter or an extra arm in the bullpen.
The Orioles have also been linked to Philadelphia’s A.J. Burnett, Colorado’s Jorge De La Rosa, and San Diego’s Ian Kennedy in various media reports in recent weeks.
“It’s one thing to go out and acquire somebody, but there’s got to be a fit there,” manager Buck Showalter said. “You guys can figure out where the fit might be. I’m looking at trying to play through the end of October with the 25 people we have.”
The Orioles remain open to the possibility of upgrading the second base and catcher positions but continue to place a premium on strong defense accompanying any improved offensive production. They entered Tuesday ranked sixth in the American League in team ERA (3.78), but rank 14th in fielding independent pitching (4.21), a metric used to roughly determine what a pitcher’s ERA would look like with defensive play eliminated from the equation. This, in part, reflects how important strong defense has been to the Orioles’ success this season.
Jonathan Schoop is hitting just .216 and Ryan Flaherty .207, but both have provided above-average defense at second base. The catching combination of Caleb Joseph (.197) and Nick Hundley (.205) is hovering around the Mendoza line, but Showalter and pitchers alike have credited their work behind the plate as a major reason for the pitching success since early June.
A report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports on Tuesday indicated the Orioles are not interested in Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki.
“You never assume anything. I don’t want to know every [rumor],” Showalter said. “We’ve talked about some things that are out there, but [Duquette] doesn’t have to [tell me everything] and I don’t want him to. I want our players to know that every ounce that I’ve got is towards the 25 that are here and the 20 [or so] that are in Norfolk and Bowie. That’s my job.”
Duquette and the Orioles clearly won’t tip their hand if something significant is in the works, but it still appears they’re more likely to add a bullpen arm or a starting pitcher with minor-league options before compromising their future for a impact starting pitcher who may or may not be available with so few sellers at the deadline under the current playoff system that now includes two wild cards in each league.
Of course, with the Orioles entering Tuesday with the fourth-best record in the majors and a 2 1/2 game lead in the AL East, they don’t feel the urgency to pull the trigger on a deal simply for the sake of making one, either. And there’s always the distinct possibility of a move being made in August when a number of helpful players will inevitably pass through waivers and once again become available through a trade.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in our people up there,” Showalter said. “I think we get so bogged down thinking it’s a strict ‘no more trades’ after this day. Take a look at the people acquired after the deadline [in the past]. It’s a moving target. Dan brings me up to speed on things that he wants my input from, and he knows that I go through the coaching staff and we kick it around.”
Posted on 21 July 2014 by WNST Staff
The Orioles announced Monday that they have recalled right-handed pitcher Bud Norris from Double-A Bowie and optioned catcher Steve Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk.
Norris, 29, is 7-6 with a 3.96 ERA (91.0IP, 40ER) in 15 starts for the Orioles this season.
Clevenger, 28, appeared in two games for the Orioles after being recalled on July 12. He has batted .328/.378/.458 in 36 games with Norfolk and .240/.296/.373 in 81 plate appearances for the Orioles this season.
Posted on 18 July 2014 by Brandon Sacks
While the season is technically more than halfway completed, the All Star Break is generally considered to be the midpoint of the season. Therefore, it is time to look at how the birds have performed during the first half of the season and preview what to expect for the upcoming second half.
The birds currently sit at 52-42, 10 games above .500. They currently sit atop the AL East, four games ahead of the second place Toronto Blue Jays. The Orioles are the only team in the division with winning records both at home and away so far this season. The Orioles are just one of two teams with winning records against the AL East, the other being Toronto.
The Orioles strength this season has yet again been the offense. They have the 4th highest batting average and the fifth highest slugging percentage in the league. They have hit the second most home runs in the league, behind only Toronto. It would be a let down if the team does not keep this up, especially since the birds had the most all star starters in the AL.
When their perennial all star catcher, Matt Wieters, ended his season by getting Tommy John surgery, no one knew what would happen at that spot. Caleb Joseph was called up, Steve Clevenger became the starting catcher, and the Orioles traded for Nick Hundley. Caleb Joseph has shined since being called up, catching over 50% of baserunners trying to steal a base. He has certainly filled the shoes of one of the best defensive catchers in the game.
Starting pitching has been a serious problem so far. The club ERA is right in the middle of the league at 15th, but toward the bottom in WHIP and quality starts. The Orioles picked up some big name starters this offseason in Ubaldo Jimenez and Suk-min Yoon. While Yoon has had health issues at the AAA level, Jimenez has been a total disappointment so far. He is averaging 5.4 walks allowed per nine innings pitched and has an ERA of 4.52.
Looking forward, the Orioles must address their starting pitching. The biggest name in the market right now is David Price, but the Rays would probably ask too much for him from someone in their own division. With him off the radar, there isn’t really a clear cut answer on whether or not the birds make a splash before the trade deadline or if they try and improve from within. Jimenez going on the DL was one of the best things that could happen for the rotation. Gausman has been called on to replace him in the rotation, which is huge. Gausman has had an incredible year with the Orioles, being one of the more dominant pitchers the birds have used. Being a fireballer, he has the ability to make people miss if his off speed pitches are accurate. Once Jimenez comes off the DL, he will probably be reassigned to the bullpen if Gausman has been winning.
Since the rotation has more issues than just Jimenez, expect to see Suk-min Yoon in the orange and black before roster expansions come. Since the Orioles would more than likely not use a six man bullpen were they to make it to the playoffs, expect either Miguel Gonzalez or Wei-Yin Chen would be the person sent down. Gonzalez has been inconsistent all year and Chen has been consistent through the fourth inning. Past that, it’s a toss up if we see the Chen that will barely make it five innings or the one that makes it eight.
The Orioles defense has, once again, been stellar. The team leads the league in double plays turned, even with all the injuries throughout the year. Since they have been one of the best defensive teams in the majors for the past couple seasons, it doesn’t seem like there is anything to really worry about. As long as this keeps up, they will remain legitimate contenders to win the division.
Hitting is one thing that the Orioles could improve upon. The birds rely very heavily on home runs, scoring over half of their runs via the long ball. The problem here is that not every park is as hitter friendly as Camden Yards. They need to find a way to score without hitting home runs if they want to win in big ballparks like Comerica, which would be where they would play in the ALDS if the season were over today. When the bats go cold and no one knocks any dingers, the Orioles fail to score more than one or two runs. There needs to be some sort of strategy to score that doesn’t rely on swinging for the fences because it will not always work.
The Orioles have 68 games left in the regular season. Since the birds have played very well against the AL East this year, it would be a shame to see them play sub-.500 baseball for the remainder of the season. Knowing that the Blue Jays will become a legitimate threat once Edwin Encarnacion returns from injury, the Orioles need to build at least a seven game lead in the division before that happens. If they can do this, then it would take a massive meltdown from the Orioles to not win the East.
Based on what we have seen for the season so far, barring any major setbacks, the Orioles will probably end somewhere around a 90-72 record and win the East. They will probably end up drawing the winner in the Central, the Detroit Tigers. Past that, it remains to be seen.
Posted on 18 July 2014 by Brett Dickinson
By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen
The “second half” of the season is set to kick off and currently the Baltimore Orioles are sitting in first place in the AL East. Looking into the final couple months of the season Brett and Barry go out on a limb and give their bold predictions for how the team/players will finish out the 2014 season.
1. Chris Davis will finish the season batting above .250
It has been a really rough season for the Orioles first basemen, as he has struggled adjusting to the new found attention received by opposing pitchers and defensive shifts. He has been hovering around the .200 “mendoza line” since returning from an oblique strain in May. Though we may never see the 2013 Chris Davis ever again, he should be able to bounce back with the extra rest of the All Star break and regain some of that form that terrorized the entire league. If Davis were to get on a hot streak, it is certainly not inconcievable to think he could raise his batting average 40-50 points, while knocking out another 15-20 home runs. In the end, he may finish the season looking like the 2012 version of himself and that could be good enough with a lineup that includes Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones.
2. Ubaldo Jimenez will finish the season with a winning record
Though Ubaldo Jimenez has been a monumental disappointment so far for the Orioles, he has shown flashes of being the front-end starter the Orioles signed in the off season. Getting the extra couple days rest with his 15 Day DL stint, right before the All-Star break, will give him the needed time to regroup mentally and physically. Already known as a second half pitcher, expect to see a much better version of Jimenez in the coming months, where he could finish with 8-2 record, putting him above .500 for the season.
3. The Orioles will trade Steve Lombardozzi and T.J. McFarland to the Phillies for A.J. Burnett
Many people were clamoring for the hometown Burnett before the Jimenez signing this off season and will finally get their wish. Lombardozzi has been mis-utilized by the Orioles and will be better suited in the NL, with opportunities in every game. While bringing in an arm like Burnett, who is on a one-year deal, one of the rotational pitchers will be sent to the bullpen, rendering McFarland expendable. The move would make sense, as Burnett is familiar with the division and can play for a contender, while the Phillies obtain two players that could fill specific roles in their rebuild efforts.
1) David Lough will stick with the Orioles for the duration of the 162 game season.
Since the Orioles have already played 95 games, what’s another 67 with David Lough? The struggles of the former Royal have been well documented, as the term “pinch running specialist” is the most fitting term for Lough’s resume. Something tells me that Buck Showalter will continue to keep Lough on the season, and a gut instinct tells me that he picks up his play in the second half. With a ton of games against the AL West, Lough might see a couple of starts on the road-trip. If he performs well at the plate, he could solidify a spot as a bench player for the long haul.
2) The September call-up that will make an impact on the Orioles’ playoff chances is NOT Dylan Bundy.
Despite his recent struggles at high-A Frederick, there is a very good chance that Bundy sees time in the major leagues come September. With a bullpen that will surely be overworked come mid-August, Bundy will be counted on to eat some innings, work on command of his secondary pitches, and learn the ropes as a reliever at the major league level. However, I do not expect Bundy’s performance to be overwhelmingly positive.
Two players to monitor for a September call-up splash: 1B Christian Walker and IF Steve Lombardozzi. Walker just received a promotion to Norfolk after a very successful stay in Bowie. With the Orioles trading away Brett Wallace, Walker will be the full-time first baseman, and if he continues to hit, could force his way onto the 40 man roster. With Chris Davis’ struggle to hit for average, Walker’s bat could be the biggest surprise of any contending team out there. If Lombardozzi is not traded to the Phillies, the Atholton grad could be a firecracker off of the bench. Switch-hitting abilities, versatility in the infield, and above-average speed could all equate to September playing time for a team that could be in a situation where they can afford to rest everyday starters from time to time.
3) Caleb Joseph’s play will make Matt Wieters a candidate to start the 2015 season as a first basemen.
I know, I know. Chris Davis is under contract for next season, and I just sung the praises of young Christian Walker. But hear me out. Given the workload that Wieters has had behind the plate in his career, and the Tommy John surgery that will keep him on the bench for the rest of the season, the time to think about a position change is now. Caleb Joseph has shown Orioles fans that he can catch at the major league level. His rapport with Kevin Gausman from their days in the minor leagues will be very helpful down the stretch. Chris Davis has not shied away from playing different positions through his tenure with the Orioles. If the Orioles choose not to re-sign Nick Markakis, or lose out to a team that overwhelms their offer, could Davis become the everyday right fielder? Could Wieters and Walker split first base duties, with Wieters serving as a backup catcher to Joseph and DH candidate against left-handed pitching?
Now we’ve got you thinking. You wanted bold, we gave you bold! Enjoy the second half, and enjoy the Brett & Barry Show.
Posted on 18 July 2014 by Luke Jones
Sitting in first place at the All-Star break for the first time since 1997 didn’t exactly earn the Orioles any favors as they started the second half of the season in Oakland on Friday night.
A 10-game West Coast trip against the two teams with the best records in the majors and the second wild card leader in the American League probably gave manager Buck Showalter a restless night or two over this week’s respite. Knowing the Orioles play their next 23 games against clubs with winning records — not to mention the six following that against teams with .500 marks at the break — likely made him lose even more sleep.
Of course, Showalter and the Orioles have every right to feel good about themselves after winning 25 of their last 40 to move to 10 games above .500 and turn a 4 1/2-game deficit into a four-game lead over that stretch. They’ve built themselves a small cushion in a division in which no one is without sizable warts and imperfections with Toronto and New York seemingly moving in the wrong direction and Boston and Tampa Bay being mostly bad all season.
No, the trip to the West Coast will neither break nor make the Orioles’ chances of winning their first American League East title since 1997, but those 10 games allow them an opportunity to flex their muscles as a man amongst boys in an underwhelming division. Holding their own in Oakland, Anaheim, and Seattle — even going 5-5 — would not only keep the Orioles in first place but allow them to return home in late July in prime position to continue their quest to a second postseason appearance in the last three years.
A strong showing against the imposing AL West over the next couple weeks could be the difference between a relatively comfortable journey to October and needing to scratch and claw over the final two months of the regular season. In the same way that the Orioles took advantage of the recent struggles of the Blue Jays, the rest of the AL East will be rooting for Baltimore to wilt before finally returning to Camden Yards on July 29.
A starting rotation that’s pitched to a 3.18 ERA over its last 33 games will now face the two highest-scoring offenses in baseball over the next six contests. It was a 1-6 run against the Athletics and the Angels earlier this month that saw the Blue Jays’ one-game lead in the division turn into a 2 1/2-game deficit by the time they left the West Coast.
Even with the daunting stretch staring them in the face, the Orioles couldn’t ask for better timing as they’ll feel more rested now than they will at any point over the rest of the season. Aside from the current ankle injury to starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez — which many critics would deem a blessing anyway — the Orioles are as healthy as they’ve been at any point during the first half of the season.
Showalter has set up his rotation to include the 23-year-old Kevin Gausman — who could finally be with the Orioles for good — and will be looking for his starting pitchers to pick up where they left off to close the first half. And he’ll hope the inconsistent offense — currently ranked seventh in the AL in runs scored — will finally hit its stride and struggling first baseman Chris Davis starts looking more like the force he was a year ago and less like the .199 hitter who was lost at the plate for the first 3 1/2 months of the season.
By no means was it a perfect first half for the first-place Orioles as they lost catcher Matt Wieters for the season and saw their $50 million investment in Jimenez lead the majors in walks, but Baltimore was the least flawed of anyone in the division and still appears that way beginning the most difficult road trip of the season.
The Orioles can use these next 10 games to flex their muscles as the clear favorite in the division and solidify their first-place standing or could see themselves fall back with the rest of the imperfect pack in the AL East.
They’ve grown accustomed to being the hunter over the last three seasons; it will be interesting to see how they start the second half as the hunted after four days off to think about it.
By no means is it do or die, but the West Coast trip will be an opportunity for the Orioles to stake their claim as the overwhelming favorite in the division while sampling what they could see again in October.
Posted on 18 July 2014 by WNST Staff
The Orioles announced plans on Thursday to celebrate their 60th Anniversary season in Baltimore with a series of events before, during and after their August 8 game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Orioles are welcoming back 23 Orioles Hall of Famers, who will take part in a spectacular post-game celebration. Expected to attend are Orioles Legends EDDIE MURRAY, CAL RIPKEN, JR., BROOKS ROBINSON, and FRANK ROBINSON, as well as the following Orioles Hall of Famers: BRADY ANDERSON, MIKE BORDICK, DON BUFORD, AL BUMBRY, DOUG DeCINCES, RICK DEMPSEY, DICK HALL, CHRIS HOILES, BILL HUNTER, DENNIS MARTINEZ, TIPPY MARTINEZ, SCOTT McGREGOR, RAY MILLER, GREGG OLSON, MILT PAPPAS, BOOG POWELL, KEN SINGLETON, B.J. SURHOFF, and EDDIE WATT.
During special pre-game ceremonies, the Orioles will honor long-time season plan holders who have been with the club since the inaugural season in 1954. The Orioles will also recognize the Oriole Advocates organization for hosting the sold-out 60th Anniversary luncheon, which will honor members of the Orioles Hall of Fame earlier in the day.
During the game, the Orioles will wear 1954 replica throwback uniforms that will later be autographed and auctioned off at www.orioles.com/auction to raise funds for the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation.
Following the game, the Orioles Hall of Famers will be introduced on the field during a laser light and fireworks display, which will feature highlights from the Orioles’ 60 years in Baltimore that will be displayed on the Oriole Park video boards and the side of the B&O Warehouse.
Tickets for the August 8 game vs. the St. Louis Cardinals are available at www.orioles.com/tickets or by calling 1-888-848-BIRD.
The Orioles have been celebrating the 60th Anniversary all year long, including several promotions and giveaways. Upcoming events, in addition to August 8, include a 60th Anniversary ¾ sleeve t-shirt giveaway (first 20,000 fans 15 & over) on August 1 vs. Seattle and a Wild Bill Cowboy Hat giveaway (first 20,000 fans 15 & over) on August 9 vs. St. Louis.