Tag Archive | "tim beckham"

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False alarm hopefully signals Machado saga nearing conclusion

Posted on 15 July 2018 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — For a few moments on Sunday, it looked like the end might finally be upon us.

Orioles utility man Jace Peterson standing in the on-deck circle to hit for Manny Machado in the bottom of the fourth inning naturally made one wonder if the All-Star shortstop had finally been traded after months of speculation and the ever-changing rumors of recent weeks. Upon seeing Tim Beckham slide over to shortstop and Peterson enter the game in the top of the fifth, reporters began scanning the Baltimore dugout to see if Machado was in the process of hugging his teammates and coaches goodbye.

It proved to be a false alarm as manager Buck Showalter removed the 26-year-old from the game due to the messy infield conditions that followed a 26-minute rain delay. Machado enjoyed the rest of the game from the dugout, wearing a hooded Orioles sweatshirt.

“We know what’s going on, the potential,” Showalter said. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that was all it. My thought on that is what are you telling the other eight people? Obviously, there’s a different situation going on with Manny. That’s just frankly. You all know that. That had a lot to do with it.”

The Orioles were smart to play it safe, but you hope his exit from the 6-5 victory over the Texas Rangers signals an imminent resolution to his immediate future. If Machado competing on an infield exposed to roughly 10 minutes of rain was too risky, the thought of him playing in as many as 10 more second-half games before the July 31 trade deadline sounds just as reckless.

With interview questions having already shifted from hypothetical to reflective without anything officially happening to this point, pulling the trigger on a deal as soon as possible — perhaps before the Orioles resume action in Toronto on Friday — would be what’s best for all parties. Showalter noted how proud he was of his club maintaining its focus with the saga now reaching the diamond, but it’s a band-aid that needs to be ripped away after slowly being peeled over the first 3 1/2 months of a nightmare season.

Showalter said he expects Machado to represent the Orioles in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, but Sunday brought into sharper focus the risk the organization is taking every time his name is written into the lineup. It’s enough to make you wonder how much further executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and the organization should go to try to maximize their trade return.

“A month ago, he wouldn’t have come out of the game,” Showalter said. “We know that. You know [that]. You’re smart. I think you know what’s going on.”

Yes, we all know what’s coming as Sunday provided a few moments of what that reality will be like.

Hopefully, it’s much sooner than later for everyone’s sake.

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Orioles-Rays game postponed, rescheduled as part of May 12 doubleheader

Posted on 24 April 2018 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Having lost nine of their last 10 and currently dealing with injuries in their infield, the Orioles probably weren’t disappointed to see Mother Nature give them a break.

A forecast of steady rain throughout the evening postponed the opener of a three-game series with Tampa Bay on Tuesday. The game will be rescheduled as part of a single-admission doubleheader with the Rays beginning at 3:05 p.m. on Saturday, May 12.

With infielder Tim Beckham expected to be placed on the 10-day disabled list after injuring his groin in Monday’s loss to Cleveland, the Orioles were able to delay making a roster move. Newly-acquired infielder Jace Peterson was traveling to Baltimore Tuesday after being claimed off waivers from the New York Yankees and is expected to take Beckham’s roster spot on Wednesday.

Batting just .179 and struggling to adjust to his new position at third base, Beckham underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam on Tuesday afternoon. The Orioles were already dealing with the absence of All-Star second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who is just beginning baseball activities after sustaining a right oblique strain on April 13.

Before the postponement, Trey Mancini had been penciled into Tuesday’s lineup as the left fielder and leadoff hitter. He missed two games over the weekend after slamming his knee into the wall down the left-field line on Friday night, but he was able to pinch-hit in the eighth inning of Monday’s game.

Below is information about Tuesday’s postponement and the May 12 doubleheader:

Tickets and parking for Tuesday’s postponed game will not be automatically honored for the May 12 doubleheader. Fans must exchange the value of their tickets and parking from the Tuesday, April 24 game at the Oriole Park Box Office towards any remaining home game this season, including the May 12 doubleheader, based on availability.

Fans who purchased tickets on StubHub for the Tuesday, April 24 game will need to contact StubHub regarding their policy for postponed events.

Fans holding tickets for the originally scheduled 7:05 p.m. game on Saturday, May 12 should use those tickets for both games of the doubleheader.

All ballpark gates will open at 2:00 p.m., and parking lots will open at 1:30 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on MASN2 and on the Orioles Radio Network, including flagship station 105.7 The Fan.

Ticket exchanges can be performed at the Oriole Park Box Office or submitted in writing along with the original tickets and mailed via certified mail by May 31, 2018 to:

Baltimore Orioles
Attention: April 24 Rainout
333 West Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

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Twelve Orioles thoughts following 2-1 loss to Cleveland

Posted on 23 April 2018 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles’ misery continuing in a 2-1 loss to Cleveland, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Baltimore is scoring 3.17 runs per game — worst in the majors — and has plated one or zero runs in five of 10 games at Camden Yards and three or fewer in nine of those. Seven of the 11 Orioles players to bat Monday are hitting .200 or worse. Uncle.

2. Upon intentionally walking Manny Machado in the third, Carlos Carrasco needed 22 pitches to retire the next eight batters before walking Machado in the sixth. That’s one more pitch than the 21 Brandon Belt saw in one at-bat Sunday to set a major league record. Is there even a plan?

3. Speaking of that Machado intentional walk, the Orioles should expect much more of that if the lineup is going to continue being a one-man band.

4. It’s a shame a strong start from Kevin Gausman was wasted as he made one mistake on a two-run homer by Yonder Alonso in the second. The Indians had some other hard contact, but Gausman recorded his third straight quality start and gave his team a good chance to win.

5. Gausman retired 21 of the 23 final batters he faced, finishing his night by striking out Jason Kipnis on a 96.4 mph fastball to end the top of the eighth. Did I mention he deserved better?

6. An “immaculate” inning occurs when a pitcher strikes out the side on the minimum nine pitches. Gausman accomplished that impressive feat in the seventh. According to statistician Ryan Spaeder, he was the first Oriole to do that since B.J. Ryan in 1999.

7. Gausman’s average fastball velocity of 93.9 mph was easily his best of the season as he repeatedly hit 95 and 96 and even touched 97. That should quell concerns about him lacking his typical fastball early this season.

8. In contrast to Gausman’s “immaculate” inning, Danny Valencia struck out three times on a total of nine pitches, swinging and missing three straight times on the first one and looking at three straight in his next at-bat. He did mix in a double in the seventh inning.

9. Adam Jones’ frustration was apparent after he grounded out to end a threat in the eighth inning, throwing his bat, helmet, batting gloves, and shin guard. The center fielder is hitting just .240 with a .396 slugging percentage.

10. Chance Sisco struck out three times, but he delivered the only Orioles run of the night with an RBI single in the second. Monitoring his development is one of the few interesting aspects of this last-place club right now.

11. Trey Mancini coming off the bench to face Andrew Miller certainly wasn’t the easiest matchup, but it bodes well for his potential return to the starting lineup on Tuesday. He took batting practice and was feeling optimistic about his knee prior to Monday’s game.

12. Tim Beckham could be replacing Mancini on the sideline after he left the game with a groin issue and has also been dealing with a sore Achilles. Beckham is batting just .179, but the Orioles were already lacking the infield depth to handle the absence of Jonathan Schoop. What’s next?

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Twelve Orioles thoughts following 4-2 loss at Detroit

Posted on 17 April 2018 by Luke Jones

With the Orioles sustaining their fourth straight loss in a 4-2 final against the Detroit Tigers, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Remember the optimism after the Orioles shook off a 1-5 start to win three out of four at Yankee Stadium? They’ve scored a total of 16 runs while going 1-6 since then. This offense has been downright painful to watch.

2. I don’t dwell on strikeouts nearly as much as some, but the Orioles have recorded more hits than strikeouts in a game just once all season. That’s astonishing. They had twice as many strikeouts (12) as hits (six) on Tuesday.

3. Andrew Cashner has provided everything the Orioles could have reasonably hoped for so far. Even after his rough debut, the right-hander has a 3.00 ERA with three quality starts on the young season. It’s a shame he can’t hit.

4. Much was understandably made about Cashner’s career-worst 4.6 strikeouts per nine innings last season, but he’s now struck out 21 batters in 24 frames. His 7.9 strikeouts per nine rate falls in line with where he was in 2015 and 2016. Missing bats hasn’t been a problem for him.

5. I don’t know what to say about Chris Davis. We’ve seen him go through poor stretches over the years, but the strikeouts are piling up — he has 10 on the road trip — and he’s rarely even making hard contact to point to the shift as an obstacle. He’s slugging .196.

6. Manny Machado is a special talent, but getting thrown out trying to advance to third with two outs in the fifth inning is inexcusable, especially with this offense. He’s been in the majors too long to continue to make these types of baserunning blunders as frequently as he does.

7. Since his electric debut month upon being acquired from Tampa Bay at last year’s trade deadline, Tim Beckham is batting .174 over his last 169 plate appearances dating back to last Sept. 1. His offense is a much bigger concern right now than his transition to third base.

8. Trey Mancini hit his second home run of the season and continues to do a commendable job in the leadoff spot with a .377 on-base percentage. Now, is there a way to clone him?

9. Adam Jones drove in a run and collected two hits to raise his season average to .236. His early-season struggles pale in comparison to several others, but the Orioles desperately need their leader to get going if they’re going to climb out of this hole.

10. Considering his defense is the only thing keeping him on the field over Chance Sisco so far this season, Caleb Joseph simply must block the Mychal Givens wild pitch that led to the Tigers’ final run.

11. After being promoted to the majors for his defense earlier in the day, Luis Sardinas committing a throwing error on his first opportunity was right in line with how this season has gone so far.

12. The Orioles have gone 58-89 since getting off to a 22-10 start last season. Buck Showalter’s club has gone 12-32 since the start of last September. Yes, numerous players have come and gone, but Baltimore hasn’t played an extended stretch of good baseball in a very long time now.

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Orioles place Schoop on DL with oblique strain, activate Cobb

Posted on 14 April 2018 by Luke Jones

Saturday was supposed to be a good day for the Orioles with prize free-agent acquisition Alex Cobb making his 2018 debut, but his activation came with news of Jonathan Schoop going to the disabled list.

The 2017 All-Star second baseman left Friday’s game in Boston with a right oblique strain and underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam to determine the severity of the injury. It’s no secret oblique strains frequently take a while to heal, which is bad news for an offense entering Saturday ranking 12th in the American League in both runs scored (47 in 14 games) and batting average (.220).

Schoop was officially placed on the 10-day disabled list to make room for Cobb, who was recalled from Double-A Bowie after building up his pitch count in simulated games over the last couple weeks.

Voted the club’s most valuable player last year, Schoop was off to a rough start, but he had shown signs of breaking out of his early-season slump with four hits over his last two games. In 14 games, he was batting .230 with one home run, three doubles, and three runs batted in.

It was nearly three years ago to the day that Schoop injured his right knee at Fenway Park, an ailment that cost him almost three months of action in 2015.

With Schoop out for at least the next 10 days, manager Buck Showalter moved third baseman Tim Beckham to second base with Danny Valencia playing third in Saturday’s game against the Red Sox. It was Beckham’s first game at second with Baltimore, but he made 55 career starts there for Tampa Bay.

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Davis out of Orioles leadoff spot after poor start

Posted on 05 April 2018 by Luke Jones

The Chris Davis leadoff experiment has been scrapped just a week into the 2018 season.

Off to a 1-for-21 start at the plate, the first baseman was lowered to fifth in the batting order as the Orioles began a four-game set against the New York Yankees on Thursday. Davis was not in Wednesday’s lineup with left-hander Dallas Keuchel on the hill for Houston — third baseman Tim Beckham batted first instead — but left fielder Trey Mancini was leading off with right-hander Masahiro Tanaka starting the series opener for the Yankees.

Manager Buck Showalter said all along that he wasn’t committed to Davis hitting first for the long haul and had hoped it would spark a good start after his difficult 2017 campaign. The lefty slugger struck out four times in Tuesday’s loss to the Astros and struck out in his only at-bat as a pinch hitter on Wednesday to lower his batting average to .048.

Showalter went out of his way on Opening Day to mention that he’d used Mancini as his leadoff hitter in a few spring games, but the reviews weren’t favorable, leading him to go with Davis.

“I didn’t like Trey there. I tried [it],” Showalter said last Thursday. “You could tell Trey was a little uncomfortable with it. Anytime a player kind of embraces things [like] it’s as much his idea as somebody else, those usually get a good return.”

Mancini is 3-for-20 with a home run to begin the season.

Below is the new-look Baltimore lineup for Thursday evening:

LF Trey Mancini
SS Manny Machado
2B Jonathan Schoop
CF Adam Jones
1B Chris Davis
3B Tim Beckham
DH Colby Rasmus
RF Anthony Santander
C Chance Sisco

SP Andrew Cashner

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Davis leading off on Opening Day as Orioles finalize 25-man roster

Posted on 29 March 2018 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After much speculation about the Opening Day lineup in recent days, first baseman Chris Davis will indeed begin the season as the Orioles leadoff hitter.

Prior to Wednesday’s workout, the veteran slugger welcomed the possibility of hitting in the top spot in the order before manager Buck Showalter officially penciled in his name there against Minnesota. Davis served in the leadoff spot a number of times toward the end of the Grapefruit League schedule, but that also served the purpose of giving him extra at-bats after he missed action with an elbow issue.

It’s certainly an unconventional move as Davis tries to rebound from a 2017 season in which he batted only .215 with a .309 on-base percentage. Prior to Thursday, the leadoff spot was the only position in the batting order in which he’d never hit in his major league career, but Davis does own a respectable .328 career on-base percentage and the Orioles lack ideal options for the job.

“It’s something that everybody felt like was a good way to start,” said Showalter, who isn’t committing to Davis as the long-term leadoff hitter. “Chris is a very important part of our club, potentially, and I hope this kind of helps us. Sometimes you’ve got to give a new toy, something that signifies a new start. We’ll see.”

Showalter went out of his way to mention left fielder Trey Mancini as another candidate he’d considered this spring, perhaps a hint that he was the manager’s initial preference for the role. Mancini finished third in American League Rookie of the Year voting last season and was in the No. 5 spot in the order on Opening Day after hitting in the top spot a few times in spring games.

Third baseman Tim Beckham saw extensive time as Baltimore’s leadoff hitter last year after being acquired from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline, but he was slotted into the sixth spot on Thursday and owns a career .310 on-base percentage.

“I didn’t like Trey there. I tried [that],” Showalter said. “You could tell Trey was a little uncomfortable with it. Anytime a player kind of embraces things [like] it’s as much his idea as somebody else, those usually get a good return.”

The Orioles finalized their 25-man roster Thursday morning by selecting the contracts of outfielder Colby Rasmus and Craig Gentry and infielders Danny Valencia and Pedro Alvarez. To make room for those four on the 40-man roster, pitchers Alex Asher, Stefan Crichton, Michael Kelly, and Jesus Liranzo were designated for assignment.

As expected, outfielder Mark Trumbo (right quadriceps strain) and right-handed pitcher Gabriel Ynoa (right shin stress reaction) were placed on the 10-day disabled list. Both moves are retroactive to March 26, and Showalter indicated Trumbo is “not too far away” from returning to action.

Closer Zach Britton remains on the 60-day DL as he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon.

Below are the Opening Day lineups:

MINNESOTA
2B Brian Dozier
1B Joe Mauer
3B Miguel Sano
LF Eddie Rosario
DH Logan Morrison
SS Eduardo Escobar
RF Max Kepler
CF Byron Buxton
C Jason Castro

SP Jake Odorizzi

BALTIMORE
1B Chris Davis
SS Manny Machado
2B Jonathan Schoop
CF Adam Jones
LF Trey Mancini
3B Tim Beckham
DH Pedro Alvarez
RF Craig Gentry
C Caleb Joseph

SP Dylan Bundy

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Sisco makes Opening Day roster, Beckham sidelined with groin issue

Posted on 23 March 2018 by Luke Jones

Rookie catcher Chance Sisco has made the Orioles’ Opening Day roster and is expected to back up veteran Caleb Joseph to begin the 2018 season.

The news became official Friday when fellow catcher Andrew Susac was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Sisco has had a superb spring at the plate with a .419 average, two home runs, 10 runs batted in, and a 1.309 on-base plus slugging percentage in 34 plate appearances, reinforcing the optimism about his offensive potential at the major league level. The Orioles’ shortage of left-handed bats certainly hasn’t hurt Sisco’s chances either.

Questions have centered around his defense, but manager Buck Showalter apparently saw enough this spring to feel comfortable with the 23-year-old on the major league roster. Named the No. 68 prospect in Baseball America’s top 100 list in January, Sisco made his major league debut last September and hit two home runs and two doubles in 22 plate appearances. He batted .267 with seven homers, 22 doubles, and a .736 OPS at Triple-A Norfolk in 2017.

It remains to be seen how frequently Sisco will play to start the season with his development behind the plate serving as a major variable. He threw out 23 percent of runners attempting to steal at Triple A last season, but how he handles a major league pitching staff and frames pitches will help determine whether he becomes the primary catcher sooner than later. Some have doubted whether Sisco will be a long-term catcher, which has hurt his league-wide perception over the last couple years.

Joseph has regularly ranked among the top catchers in pitch-framing statistics over the last few years — a valuable trait working with a marginal pitching staff — and posted a respectable .700 OPS last season, but he’s never caught more than 95 games in a major league season as concerns remain about him wearing down with too great a workload. An ideal scenario would likely be a timeshare in which both play a few times per week to both keep Joseph fresh and prevent Sisco from rotting away on the bench. And in the perfect world, Sisco would show enough growth behind the plate to take the reins as the primary catcher at some point later in the season.

In other news, third baseman Tim Beckham remains sidelined after leaving Thursday’s spring game with a groin issue. He isn’t expected to play again until Sunday at the earliest, but Showalter told reporters in Sarasota that Beckham isn’t expected to be placed on the disabled list.

In addition to Sisco, right-handed relief pitcher Pedro Araujo has made the Opening Day roster, capping an impressive spring for the Rule 5 pick. Formerly a member of the Chicago Cubs organization, the 24-year-old has a 2.08 ERA with eight strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings in the Grapefruit League. Araujo pitched primarily at the high Single-A level last season, posting a 1.81 ERA in 64 2/3 innings and averaging 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

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2018 Orioles preview: Tim Beckham

Posted on 09 March 2018 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than a month away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2018 Orioles every day as they try to bounce back from a disappointing last-place finish a year ago.

March 5 – Manny Machado
March 6 – Kevin Gausman
March 7 – Trey Mancini
March 8 – Brad Brach

INF Tim Beckham

Opening Day age: 28

Contract status: Under club control through the 2020 season

2017 stats (between Tampa Bay and Baltimore): .278/.328/.454, 22 HR, 62 RBI, 67 R, 6 SB, 575 PA, 3.3 WAR (Baseball Reference)

Why to be impressed: The former first overall pick couldn’t have had a better start after being traded at the deadline, collecting 18 extra-base hits and posting a 1.062 OPS in the month of August. Previously regarded as a draft bust with the Rays, Beckham set career highs in batting average, home runs, OPS, RBIs, extra-base hits, walks, and plate appearances to finally become a major league regular.

Why to be concerned: Beckham came crashing back down in September by hitting .180 and posting a .603 OPS in September, but he wasn’t helped by a .226 batting average on balls in play. The infielder was able to lower his strikeout rate upon being traded, but his career 29.7 percent mark would be second worst behind only Chris Davis on the current club and he only walked 5.2 percent of the time in 2017.

2018 outlook: He’s said and done the right things moving to third base, but you wonder how Beckham will handle a position change on top of trying to continue his 2017 improvement at the plate. Remaining committed to using the opposite field (27.7 percent in the second half of 2017 compared to a 21.5 percent career mark) would keep him consistent enough to play every day if he can at least be average at third.

Not-so-scientific projections for 2018: .267/.314/.438, 24 HR, 69 RBI, 81 R, 5 SB, 639 PA, 2.2 WAR

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Twelve Orioles thoughts on start of spring training

Posted on 20 February 2018 by Luke Jones

With Orioles spring training underway and Grapefruit League action beginning later this week, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. After signing Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman, the Orioles will have an estimated 2018 payroll of just south of $130 million after an Opening Day payroll of $164 million last season, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Explain again why they’re not serious players for Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb?

2. We scoff whenever a free agent says it’s not about the money, but I believe free-agent-to-be Adam Jones when he said the chance to win will be more important than compensation. The 32-year-old obviously won’t play for nothing, but a ring is very important to him.

3. That said, how the Padres perform in 2018 would be an interesting variable to throw into the Jones mix after they signed Eric Hosmer. They have one of baseball’s top farm systems, so perhaps the San Diego native would be intrigued about going home if the Padres show they’re ascending.

4. Not that Tim Beckham has had any leverage in the matter, but I’m impressed with the way he’s handled himself in the wake of Manny Machado moving to shortstop. Showing he can be a solid third baseman would only enhance his value moving forward.

5. Dylan Bundy astutely noted at FanFest that he got away from his curveball and changeup too much down the stretch as he posted a 7.53 ERA in his three September starts. His 2017 workload was a major topic of discussion, so you pray that he has a healthy spring.

6. Chris Davis knows he needs to be more aggressive. His contact and chase rates have held fairly steady since 2014, but he swung at a career-low 60.0 percent of pitches in the zone last year, down from 64.1 percent in 2016 and 72.2 percent in 2015. That’s a disturbing trend.

7. One of Baltimore’s more cerebral players, Mark Trumbo said he was probably too caught up in swing analytics last year. He denied any negative impact from serving as the designated hitter so frequently, but that role sure provides a lot of time to overthink struggles at the plate.

8. A healthy Darren O’Day would go a long way in the bullpen’s effort to endure the extended absence of Zach Britton. Little went right for the Orioles last September, but the 35-year-old quietly posted a 0.96 ERA with 24 strikeouts over his last 18 2/3 innings of the season.

9. If the best Dan Duquette can do in adding a lefty-hitting outfielder is 32-year-old journeyman Alex Presley, the Orioles need to give Austin Hays every opportunity to show he can be an everyday player and this year’s version of Trey Mancini despite lacking the same minor-league seasoning.

10. There’s much evidence supporting concerns about Cashner, but citing his 42-64 career record pitching mostly for bad teams tells us very little about his performance. Pitcher win-loss records are baseball tradition, but they should induce an eye-roll if used in attempts at meaningful analysis.

11. I’m skeptical just how much baseball’s new initiatives to improve pace of play will move the meter, but limiting the number of mound visits is long overdue. You’d think some pitchers and catchers had never met before with how frequently they congregate.

12. Many of the spring training caps introduced around baseball in recent years have been cringe-worthy, but I do like this year’s Orioles version. It was a smart call taking the logo from the deer hunter caps used for “Players Weekend” last summer.

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