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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 highs, lows of Orioles’ first half

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D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 highs, lows of Orioles’ first half

Posted on 15 July 2014 by Luke Jones

The Orioles entered the All-Star break in first place for the first time since the 1997, creating plenty of excitement as they try to advance to the postseason for the second time in the last three years.

In honor of this, The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 examined what things went right and what went wrong in the first half of the 2014 season. Luke Jones handled the positives while Drew Forrester took a look at the negatives as the Orioles own a four-game lead over second-place Toronto and are 52-42 on the season.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 Things That Went Right …

7. Kevin Gausman
KG

Even with the Orioles bouncing him back and forth between the majors and Triple-A Norfolk, the 23-year-old pitched to a 3.29 ERA in seven starts and will finally have a chance to remain in the rotation for good in the second half.

6. A 9-3 record in extra-inning games
NH

An incredible 16-2 record in extra innings was a trademark of the magical and surprising 2012 Orioles, but this year’s club has done almost as well in extra frames with one of the best bullpens in the American League.

5. The consistency of Adam Jones
Jones

For all the handwringing over his plate discipline and inability to draw walks, Jones overcame a rough April to post a .301 average with 16 home runs and 54 runs batted in while teammates such as Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy struggled in the first half.

4. Steve Pearce
Pearce

Most wouldn’t have expected the 31-year-old journeyman to have even made the team in spring training, but Pearce has become an everyday player with a .316 average, 11 homers, 31 RBIs, and a .383 on-base percentage in 209 plate appearances.

3. Zach Britton
Britton

The lefty entered the spring with no minor-league options remaining and no clear role, but he not only became a critical piece in the bullpen but eventually replaced closer Tommy Hunter to collect 15 saves and post a tiny 1.30 ERA.

2. Nelson Cruz
Cruz

A one-year, $8 million contract was all it took as Cruz is second in the majors with 28 homers and carried an up-and-down offense for large stretches of the first half while others battled injuries and inconsistency.

1. A 26-18 record in an underwhelming American League East
redsox

The Orioles deserve full credit for taking advantage, but the weakest AL East we’ve seen in years has Baltimore poised to win its first division crown in 17 years with just one other team above the .500 mark at the break.

CONTINUE TO NEXT PAGE FOR DREW FORRESTER’S TOP 7 >>>>>

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Jones bows out in second round of 2014 Home Run Derby

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Jones bows out in second round of 2014 Home Run Derby

Posted on 14 July 2014 by Luke Jones

Taking part in the first Home Run Derby of his career, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones advanced to the second round before bowing out in the 2014 competition at Target Field in Minnesota on Monday night.

The four-time All-Star selection hit four homers in the first round to advance in the new tournament format before falling short against Oakland outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who hit nine homers to advance to take on Toronto’s Jose Bautista in the third round. Jones hit three in the second round after Cespedes put up the impressive number, but two laser shots hooked foul, which didn’t help the Baltimore outfielder’s effort.

Cespedes would go on to win the competition for the second year in a row, besting Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier in the finals.

“The #HRDerby is legit,” Jones wrote on his official Twitter account after being eliminated. “Great experience and had a blast. All in the fun of the game.”

Teammate and injured catcher Matt Wieters brought a sports drink to Jones at one point during his second round at the plate, but the energy boost wasn’t enough to get him to the semifinals.

Orioles bullpen catcher Jett Ruiz pitched to Jones in the competition as the 28-year-old was trying to join Cal Ripken in 1991 and Miguel Tejada in 2004 as the only Baltimore players to win the Home Run Derby.

Jones is hitting .301 with 16 home runs and 54 runs batted in this season and will bat seventh behind Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz in the American League starting lineup for Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

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Showalter reveals post-break rotation for start of challenging West Coast trip

Posted on 14 July 2014 by Luke Jones

Entering the All-Star break in first place for the first time since 1997, the Orioles won’t receive any breaks to start the second half with a 10-game West Coast trip and three clubs with winning records staring them in the face.

Manager Buck Showalter revealed his starting rotation to begin the second half with Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, and Kevin Gausman pitching in the three-game series against the Oakland Athletics next weekend. After that, Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez are expected to be recalled from the minors to make starts against the Los Angeles Angels on July 21 and July 22 before Tillman starts the finale in Anaheim.

Injured starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez will not be activated during the road trip as he continues to work his way back from an injured ankle suffered last week. Showalter said the plan is for the struggling right-hander to make a minor-league rehab start on July 23, which would put him in line to be ready to be activated when the Orioles finally return home on July 29.

Jimenez was still favoring his ankle when he tried to work on Sunday.

“He was trying to protect it and we kind of shortened it up a little bit because it wasn’t getting any better and we didn’t want him to have a setback,” Showalter said. “They have X-rayed I’m pretty sure. He’s had a history and anybody who’s had that ankle, it gets a little weaker each time you do it or it’s more susceptible to it. Obviously, he’s got some [discomfort] in there that we’re going to have to clear up before we can pitch him.”

Catcher Steve Clevenger and relief pitcher Preston Guilmet are expected to accompany the Orioles to the West Coast and remain with the club until Norris and Gonzalez are recalled.

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Gonzalez joins Norris in being optioned to minors over All-Star break

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Gonzalez joins Norris in being optioned to minors over All-Star break

Posted on 12 July 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After matching his season high with eight strong innings in his start against the New York Yankees Friday, Orioles starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk a day later.

Joining fellow starter Bud Norris in being sent to the minors for a start during the All-Star break, Gonzalez will be eligible to return for his next major league start against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on July 22. He is slated to pitch for the Tides on Thursday before rejoining the Orioles on the West Coast.

Gonzalez is 4-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 89 innings this season and has completed eight innings in each of his last two starts after failing to do that in any of his first 13 starts.

The club recalled catcher Steve Clevenger from the Tides to take Gonzalez’s spot on the roster. He will provide another left-handed bat off the bench for the time being and was hitting .328 for Norfolk after hitting .243 with the Orioles earlier this season.

Norris was optioned to Double-A Bowie on Thursday to shake off some of the rust he showed in Wednesday’s start against Washington upon being activated from the 15-day disabled list. Manager Buck Showalter plans to send Norris to the hill against the Angels on July 21.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and Showalter have enjoyed the benefit of having four starting pitchers with minor-league options to add an extra bullpen arm and a third catcher for a few games while preventing Norris and Gonzalez from having extended layoffs.

Though no official order has been set, the Orioles are all but guaranteed to give starts to Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, and Kevin Gausman against the Oakland Athletics when they begin a three-game set there next Friday to begin the second half of the season. Struggling starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez will officially be placed on the DL to make room for the returning Gausman to pitch against the Yankees on Sunday night.

The only possible drawback would be a short-term injury or illness to any of the scheduled starters in the Oakland series with Norris unable to come back until July 20 and Gonzalez ineligible until July 22 without someone else being placed on the DL. Of course, the Orioles could likely use lefty reliever T.J. McFarland as an emergency starter in a pinch.

 

 

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Jimenez going to disabled list with freak ankle injury

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Jimenez going to disabled list with freak ankle injury

Posted on 11 July 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — A freak ankle injury has brought the first half of Ubaldo Jimenez’s first season in Baltimore to an end with the Orioles placing the starting pitcher on the 15-day disabled list.

Manager Buck Showalter announced Friday that the 30-year-old rolled his right ankle stepping in a hole in a parking lot two days ago, forcing the Orioles to send Jimenez to the DL and recall right-hander Kevin Gausman to start against the New York Yankees on either Saturday or Sunday. Chris Tillman is likely to pitch on Saturday after initially being scheduled to start on Sunday night with Gausman taking the hill for the final game prior to the All-Star break.

“It’s pretty puffy [and] taped up,” Showalter said. “He tried to take a workday [on Thursday]. We were hoping it would resolve somewhat today. It did not. It’s real sore today”

Jimenez injured the same ankle while pitching in 2012 and is eligible to return on the sixth day after the All-Star break, according to Showalter. Because the Orioles will be recalling Gausman to take Jimenez’s place, the Orioles can only backdate Jimenez’s time on the DL to the day after Gausman was optioned on Monday, meaning he is eligible to return on July 23.

The news ends a difficult first half of the 2014 season for the right-hander as he has a 3-8 record with a 4.52 ERA and leads the majors with 60 walks in his 99 2/3 innings over 18 starts. Jimenez signed a four-year, $50 million contract in the offseason, but the veteran hasn’t lived up to the high expectations that accompanied the long-term investment.

“It is what it is. I understand how things work with people that make a living making light of things like this,” said Showalter about the nature of the ankle injury. “He’s pretty frustrated by it, but we’d rather have him healthy and pitching. If it wasn’t for the All-Star break, we might wait a couple days [to see if he'd heal quickly].”

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B&B Big Story Banter: Orioles First Half Awards

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B&B Big Story Banter: Orioles First Half Awards

Posted on 11 July 2014 by Brett Dickinson

By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen

As the All-Star is steadily approaching, it is time to look back of some of the best and worst for the Orioles first half.

MVP (BK): Undoubtedly, Nelson Cruz. The best free agent signing this off season in all of Major League Baseball is paying off in spades, and it seems as if he refuses to come back to Earth. As of Friday morning, Cruz is tied for the most home runs in the majors, and is in sole possession of the RBI category with a whopping 74 prior to the All-Star Break. Coupled with a .291 batting average, and you have yourself a legitimate MVP candidate that is the main reason that the Orioles are in first place in the American League East.

LVP (BK): There are a couple of worthy candidates, but pinch running specialist David Lough takes this award. Acquired from Kansas City for Danny Valencia, all signs in spring pointed to Lough being the starting left fielder and a capable leadoff hitter that would make fans forget about Nate McClouth. Today, he finds himself buried on the Orioles bench, receiving an occasional start in left field when Cruz and Steve Pearce have sore backs from carrying the offense. At this point in the season, Lough has little to no value to a first-place team. The time has come for the Orioles to designate Lough for assignment, and recall Jemile Weeks or Steve Lombardozzi.

Biggest Surprise (BD): This again has to be Nelson Cruz playing at a career level in Baltimore. When signing the one year deal in the off season, he was obliviously trying to prove the MLB that he could bounce back after his 50 game suspension for PED use last season.  No one could have expected this out of Cruz or teams would have been lining up for his services, instead of letting him slip through the cracks until the waning minutes before the season started. He is probably the biggest steal of the off season and in Orioles history, considering he could end up being the league MVP.

Chris DavisBiggest Disappointment (BD): Several players have not lived up to expectations so far this season, but Chris Davis has been the biggest disappointment. After his record-setting 53 home runs for the Orioles in 2013, many expected him to continue to torture opposing pitchers. Though it is not as bad as many are making it out to be, as he does have a good OPS, he is not hitting for any average. His power numbers are also drastically down from last year’s torrid pace.

Best Roster Move (BD): Duh, signing NELSON CRUZ. See MVP and Biggest Surprise

Worst Roster Move (BD): This is a tough one since this team tinkers so much with its MLB roster so regularly. But it has to be the Yo-Yo the organization has played with its top overall prospect and arguably best pitcher on the team in Kevin Gausman.  Let the pitcher get comfortable into a MLB routine and hold down a spot within a below-average rotation. Honorable mention goes out to Steve Lombardozzi wasting away in Triple A, after proving he could be a valuable piece with his versatility and a much better hitter than the likes of Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop.

Best Hitter (BK): This is getting redundant; Nelson Cruz

Zach BrittonBest Pitcher (BK): In whatever role he has been asked to fill, Zach Britton has done it at a very high level. When the season started, Britton was good for 4-6 scoreless innings in relief every week. When Tommy Hunter failed to record clean 9th innings and eventually landed on the disabled list, Britton has become a surprisingly good closer, recording 15 of 17 save opportunities with an earned-run average of 1.33. Going into the season, there were legitimate questions of Britton making the team if he did not earn the fifth starter job. Now, I cannot imagine this season without Britton in the backend of the bullpen, using his newfound velocity on his fastball to mystify hitters from both sides of the plate.

Biggest question for the 2nd half (BK): Can they sustain it?

At 50-41, the Orioles could conceivably play .500 baseball the rest of the way and win the American League East division. With the injury bug greatly affecting the Blue Jays (Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, Brett Lawrie) and the Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia, Michael Pineda), the Orioles are looking better and better each day. This Orioles team still has ways to improve, but in a game of good health and least flaws, the Orioles are in first place in both categories.

Will Ubaldo continue to frustrate Orioles fans with 5 IP, 5 BB outings? Will Kevin Gausman be in this rotation for good? Will Steve Pearce continue to be the hero that Charm City needs? Or will responsibilities fall to Super Manny?

It should be a fun second half, Baltimore. Buckle Up.

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Eric Davis says Derby concerns for Adam Jones real because event is too long

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Eric Davis says Derby concerns for Adam Jones real because event is too long

Posted on 11 July 2014 by WNST Audio

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Guilmet brings fresh arm to Orioles bullpen

Posted on 10 July 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Thursday that they have recalled RHP PRESTON GUILMET from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned RHP BUD NORRIS to Double-A Bowie.

Guilmet, 26, has posted a 5.79 ERA (9.1IP, 6ER) in nine games with the Orioles this season, striking out 11 and walking two.

Norris, 29, has gone 7-6 with a 3.96 ERA (91.0IP, 40ER) in 15 starts for the Orioles this season.

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Orioles send Norris to Double-A Bowie for work over All-Star break

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Orioles send Norris to Double-A Bowie for work over All-Star break

Posted on 10 July 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Having a desire to not only add an extra arm for a taxed bullpen prior to the All-Star break but to get extra work for starting pitcher Bud Norris, the Orioles optioned the right-hander to Double-A Bowie.

Right-handed pitcher Preston Guilmet was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to take Norris’ place prior to Thursday’s game against the Washington Nationals. Norris struggled in his return from the disabled list on Wednesday, allowing five earned runs in four innings in a 6-2 loss that was his shortest outing of the season.

The Orioles chose not to send Norris on a rehab assignment prior to activating him — he threw a simulated game in Boston last weekend — and he hadn’t pitched in 17 days since leaving his June 20 start with a groin strain that landed him on the DL. The original plan was for Norris to make two starts before the break until Tuesday’s game in Washington was postponed due to rain.

Manager Buck Showalter mentioned the possibility of Norris pitching in relief on Sunday before the transaction was made, but the 29-year-old was looking at a minimum of eight days between starts even if the Orioles had put him at the top of the rotation to begin the second half.

“That’s something we’d like to stay away from,” said Showalter about Norris having another long layoff. “He’s already had his All-Star break.”

Norris is expected to make a start for the Baysox early next week and would be eligible to return from his option assignment as early as June 20, the final day of the three-game set against the Oakland Athletics.

The Orioles have manipulated their roster over the All-Star break before, optioning Chris Tillman to the minors over the break in 2012 and summoning him when he was eligible in the second half.

Norris has been regarded by most as the club’s best starting pitcher in the first half, going 7-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 15 starts.

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USA Today’s Heaney thinks Samardzija trade only help his fantasy baseball value

Posted on 09 July 2014 by WNST Audio

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