Archive for the 'Orioles' Category

Orioles Givens it Away

Sunday, June 16th, 2019

The Orioles rallied for two runs in the bottom of the eighth. They turned to Mychal Givens to seal the victory. Givens threw a flat changeup to Marcus Hernandez. Marcus tagged it into the Orioles bullpen for his first homerun of the year. Givens stayed on for the tenth inning and gave up a mammoth homerun to Rafael Devers that landed in the Red Sox bullpen, that sits behind the O’s bullpen in centerfield. The Red Sox would tack on four more runs, then overcame their own bullpen issues to hang on to a 8-6 victory.

It was a long torturous game. The first nine innings lasted four hours as managers chose to change pitchers in the middle of innings rather than let them finish the inning and bring on a new pitcher to start the inning. The last inning went 40 minutes as the two teams combined for eight runs.

It didn’t seem like a pitcher’s duel because both starting pitchers did not last past five innings. There were 15 pitchers that combined for over 400 pitches. Brian Johnson was removed early because this was his first start since April. John Means had already thrown over 100 pitches after just five innings.

The Orioles struck first in the bottom of the third. Keon Broxton led off the inning bouncing a pitch over the glove of Rafael Devers into the left field corner and gliding into second. He advanced to third on a fly out and scored when Hanser Alberto hit a high bouncer that Devers attempted to field with his bare hands to throw to first. He dropped the ball, Broxton scoring on the hit.

John Means was effective in his first three innings, giving up just one hit per inning. In the top of the fourth he gave up four consecutive hits that gave the Red Sox two runs. Rafael Devers started the hit parade with a single. Xander Bogaerts hit a double into the left centerfield gap, scoring Devers to tie the game. Michael Chavis hit a single up the middle but it was stopped Villar from going into the outfield. Bogaerts rounded third too far and got caught in between, eventually being tagged by Alberto for the second out. Jackie Bradley gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead with a double into right center field.

Brian Johnson gave up two hits to the first two hitters he faced in the bottom of the fourth and that was it for him. Colton Brewer, the righthander came on to face Chris Davis, a lefthanded hitter. Davis grounded to first, the Red Sox failing to turn a double play. Keon Broxton laid down a bunt, was thrown out at first but was called out for runner’s interference (running too much on the fair side of the foul line. Anthony Santander would have easily scored on the bunt but he had to return to third because of the interference call. Brandon Hyde was ejected for arguing the call. Richie Martin struck out to end the threat.

The Orioles loaded the bases in the fifth on a single sandwiched between two walks. Josh Taylor came on to pitch and got Jonathan Villar to ground out to short to end the rally.

Both teams stranded a bucketful of runners as the game progressed. In the bottom of the eighth Jonathan Villar did not wait for anyone to drive him in. After walking he stole second. He then took advantage of a Christian Vazquez lob throw back to the pitcher to steal third. He scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. With two outs Stevie Wilkerson pinch hit for Richie Martin. He lined a triple into the right field corner. Hanser Alberto came through again, grounding a single past the shortstop to give the Orioles the lead.

Mychal Givens came on to get the save. He gave up the homerun to Marcus Hernandez. The next batter Mookie Betts almost took one deep, hitting it above the glove of a leaping Trey Mancini and bouncing off the rightfield scoreboard for a triple. Givens got out of the inning by striking out the next two hitters.

The tenth myworld was gone after Rafael Devers blasted a pitch deep into the centerfield bullpen. The Red Sox would go on to score five runs. It was a good thing too because the Orioles homered twice in the bottom frame, Wilkerson and Trey Mancini going deep to score three.

Game notes: John Means had thrown over 100 pitches after five innings. He only walked two but he had at least six three ball counts…Rafael Devers did not look good playing defense at third. Don’t know if Michael Chavis would do any better, moving Devers to first. Currently Chavis is playing first, but his natural position in the minor leagues was third…This was the fourth straight game for myworld. We have another in D.C. to make it five straight…Myworld thought it was interesting that the Red Sox pinch hit for Eduardo Nunez in the ninth but did not pinch hit for Marcus Hernandez. They would have lost the DH spot since Holt would have had to play second. They did not pinch hit and Marcus rewarded Alex Cora with a game tying homerun…Marcus Hernandez has two career homeruns. Both have been at Camden Yards…Eduardo Nunez was supposed to play second base and Anthony Benintendi was to DH. Benintendi was a late scratch because of quad tightness and Nunez moved to the DH slot while Hernandez went to second base. Benintendi is dealing with a quad issue but hopes to play Monday.

Kremer Dominates Fisher Cats

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Myworld was in Bowie to watch Dean Kremer and the Bay Sox do battle against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The Fisher Cats are not the same team with the promotions of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette. They do have Nate Pearson but he was not pitching tonight.

Kremer was acquired from the Dodgers for Manny Machado. Yusniel Diaz, who was playing right field was also acquired in that trade as was the Bay Sox third baseman Rylan Bannon. In his three starts in AA Kremer has struggled with a 6.89 ERA. The opposition was hitting .333 against him and he had issued walks to 8 batters in 15.2 innings. At Frederick he made two starts and had not given up a run in 9.2 innings.

Kremer threw seven shutout innings, striking out eight and walking one. He showed a good fastball at 93 miles per hour but the pitch that got the swings and misses or called third strikes was his breaking pitch. It had at least three hitters watch it spin across the middle of the plate and begin their walk back to the dugout before the umpire announced strike three. The Fisher Cats were able to put a runner on second base in the second and fifth innings but Kremer allowed no runner to find third base.

Dillon Tate, acquired from the Yankees threw the last two innings to complete the shutout, retiring all six hitters he faced and striking out three. Tate was a first round pick of the Rangers back in 2015. He was traded to the Yankees for Carlos Beltran. The Orioles acquired Tate in the Zach Britton deal. He hit 96 with his fastball.

The Bay Sox scored their first two runs on sacrifice flies. Yusniel Diaz drove in the first run with a fly ball in the first and Ryan McKenna drove in a second run with a fly ball in the third. Rylan Bannon drove in a run with a double in the sixth.

Yusniel Diaz has not been healthy. He came into the game hitting just .215 and failed to get a hit, dropping that average to .208. He is slugging just .313. This year was an opportunity for him to possibly see some major league time, but his bat has got to start producing.

Prospect to watch: Mason McCoy may not hit for power, but he has speed and is hitting .323. He could be a disruptor. We don’t see him playing shortstop in the major leagues, but maybe as a utility player. He scored three times last night.

No Fisher Cat prospect stood out. Yennsy Diaz was hitting 97 with his fastball but the Orioles had no issues getting the barrel of the bat on the ball. He struck out two. Forrest Wall has a good bat that lacks power. He also has an arm for left field, after moving from second base. The former supplemental first round pick of the Rockies is still just 23 but he has no real defensive position to play. He is a Ryan Mountcastle without the power.

Stat of the Week - Speed

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

Who is the fastest player in major league baseball? Some would say Byron Buxton. Others could argue Billy Hamilton. The fastest player will surprise you. Below is the top ten fastest players in the major leagues according to baseballsavant. It measures feet per second travelled by the player.

1. Tim Locastro (Diamondbacks) - 30.4. He was drafted in the 13th round by the Blue Jays in 2013. The Blue Jays traded him to the Dodgers in 2015 for two international bonus slots and Chase DeJong. He got into 21 major league games for the Dodgers in 2017 and 2018, hitting less than .200. The Dodgers traded him to the Yankees at the end of the 2018 season for Drew Finley and cash. In January 2019 the Yankees traded Locastro to the Diamondbacks for Ronald Roman and cash. A couple nights ago he hit a walk off single for the Diamondbacks and is hitting .275 while playing the outfield. He has yet to hit a homerun, but is 4 for 4 in stolen bases making him 9 for 9 in the major leagues. What is even more amazing is he has been hit 8 times in just 20 games this year.

2. Byron Buxton (Twins) - 30.3. The Twins keep waiting for him to have his breakout season after drafting him in the first round of the 2012 draft, the second player selected in the draft. Injuries have kept him harboring in the minor leagues for too long. Currently the starting centerfielder for the Twins.

3. Trea Turner (Nationals) - 30.2. Led the league in stolen bases last year with 43. The Padres drafted him in the first round in 2014 then traded him to the Nationals in 2015 for basically Will Myers. Injuries have kept from making a larger impact in the major leagues.

4. Terrance Gore (Royals) - 30.2. A player whose only worth so far in the major leagues is as a pinch runner. Drafted in 2011 by the Royals in the 20th round he has appeared in more games (86) than at bats (46). He has also stolen more bases (33) than he has gotten base hits (11). The 2019 season has been his first year where he has actually gotten an opportunity to play going 10 for 30 for a .333 average, racing for a double and triple, the first extra base hits of his career.

5. Isaac Galloway (Marlins) - 30.1. Drafted in the 8th round way back in 2008. Finally got a major league opportunity in 2018 only to be designated by the Marlins to the minors this year. A career .186 major league average. You can’t steal first base.

6. Adalberto Mondesi (Royals) - 30.0. The second Royal on this list and the first international player, signed in 2011 and making his major league debut in 2014. The son of slugger Raul Mondesi. Leads the majors in stolen bases this year with 20.

7. Jon Berti (Marlins) - 30.0. The second Marlin on this list, but those teams accentuating speed are at the bottom of the standings. Berti has bounced around, drafted by the Blue Jays in the 18th round in 2011 and being released and signed by teams throughout his career. He signed with the Marlins after the 2018 season. This season has been his biggest major league opportunity with 22 games.

8. Socrates Brito (Blue Jays) - 29.8. Once a top prospect for the Diamondbacks but injuries set him back. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010 and released by the Diamondbacks in spring training this year. The Padres picked him up on waivers and traded him to the Blue Jays where he was hitting .077 in 43 at bats. Despite his speed he has not stolen a base in the major leagues since 2016.

9. Keon Broxton (Orioles) - 29.6. The Diamondbacks drafted him in the third round of the 2009 draft. Traded a couple times, most recently by the Mets to the Orioles in May 2019 for international bonus slot money.

10. Garrett Hampson (Rockies) - 29.6. Recently called up by the Rockies and played centerfield. Only hitting .194 this year, and is just 1 for 3 in stolen bases. Drafted in the third round of the 2016 draft.

To date, only two of the top ten speed players are impact players in the major leagues (Turner and Mondesi). Two others have a chance (Hampson and Buxton). The others appear to be disappointments, though teams continue to pick them up via free agency based on the current stat metrics.

Giants Stomp on Birds

Sunday, June 2nd, 2019

The Orioles defense let them down as the Giants took advantage of mental and physical errors to down the O’s 8-1. The game epitomizes why baseball is struggling with attendance. The Orioles are in severe tank mode while the Giants failure to sign Bryce Harper have set themselves up for tank mode. The losing has also eliminated the Giants sellout crowds at their park. If you look at the two rosters, who on those rosters would attract someone to come out to the ballpark to watch?

The game got off to a promising start for the Orioles. Trey Mancini lined a 2-2 pitch in the first inning off Jeff Samardzija just shy of the right centerfield bleachers, striking the wall in front of the bleachers. Renato Nunez also doubled in the inning, hitting the base of the left centerfield wall. The Oriole bats would go silent after that, with Samardzija retiring 16 of the last 17 hitters he faced, striking out six. Dwight Smith and Steve Wilkerson were retired all five times they faced him on 4-3 ground outs, hitting into the shift.

Gabriel Ynoa breezed through the first three innings in his second major league start. In the fourth Even Longoria tagged him for a solo shot deep into the left field bleachers. Later in the inning a two out walk to Brandon Belt created trouble for Ynoa. Belt broke for second and it appeared Ynoa turned and threw the ball to second without stepping off the rubber. The umpires called a balk, putting Belt on second. Kevin Pillar drove him in with a double to give the Giants a 2-1 lead.

In the fifth a walk and an error by Stevie Wilkerson on a possible double play grounder put runners on first and second with no outs. Joe Panik lined to right. Rookie D.J. Stewart tried to show off his arm with a throw to third, too high to hit the cutoff man, Stephen Duggar advancing to second and catcher Stephen Vogt gliding into third. Evan Longoria hit a ground rule two out double on a ball that bounced over the left centerfield fence. If Stewart had hit the cutoff man the runner on first would not have scored in the inning. If Wilkerson had made the play at second neither run would have scored.

The Giants kept tacking on the runs. Brandon Crawford hit the first of his two solo shots in the sixth inning off Brandon Kline. He hit his second solo shot leading off the eighth inning off Dan Straily.

Straily was released by the Marlins and picked up by the Orioles to fit into a terrible starting rotation. Straily was moved to the bullpen after failing in the rotation. The bullpen does not look too promising either. He gave up a run in the seventh after issuing a leadoff walk that later scored on a Pablo Sandoval sacrifice fly. After the Crawford homerun in the eighth Stephen Duggar doubled and a Joe Panik single drove him in. With runners on first and second with one out Keon Broxton made a nice catch in centerfield, slamming into the fence and then appearing to forget how many outs there were. The runners tagged to advance one base as Stewart shouted at him to get rid of the ball. Fortunately, they did not score after a ground out to third ended the inning.

The Orioles did have an opportunity to mount a comeback in the seventh. They loaded the bases off Reyes Moronta on two walks and a single. Keon Broxton came up with two outs and struck out looking. It was his third strikeout of the game in an 0 for 3 day. He is batting less than .200 and does not look like the long term answer in centerfield.

Game Notes: It was the last visit at Camden Yards for Bruce Bochy. Managing in the National League with the Padres and Giants did not give him many opportunities to visit the park. The win today gave him 999 victories as a Giant manager. Only ex-Oriole player John McGraw has won over 1,000 games managing the Giant franchise (2,583)…The Orioles sent down Stevie Wilkerson and Austin Wynns and the talk is that Chris Davis will be activated and Chance Sisco will be called up to catch. Wilkerson saw a lot of outfield time when he was hitting, but once his bat became quiet and Keon Broxton and D.J. Stewart filled the roster’s outfield spot, his playing time got limited. With Chris Davis promoted Trey Mancini could see a lot of outfield time leaving little room for Wilkerson…Ryan Mountcastle hit a walkoff homerun on Saturday night and followed that up with a three homerun Sunday. Ryan is a man without a position on the Orioles roster with first base and DH his best spots. Both of those positions are the most crowded on the major league roster.

Orioles Sign International Player

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

The Orioles are not noted for going out and signing international players. Their budget is small and the players they sign are not well rated as far as international signings are concerned. They prefer to trade their international salary cap for minor league players from other teams that usually never make a big impact. Some would argue it is why they are where they are, because they are playing in the major leagues with one hand behind their back, focusing on players from the domestic draft only while virtually ignoring the international market.

They did go out and sign a Cuban infielder Yorkislandy Alvarez that was good enough to play for the Cuban under 18 national team in Montreal in 2017. He bolted to Costa Rica after that tournament and then to the Dominican Republic. The Orioles have signed Cuban players in the past that have not panned out, Dariel Alvarez being one of them. They can only hope this player provides some level of contribution to the major league team, though it is not a headline international signing.

Top Cuban Prospects in the American League

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

Not a lot of graduation from the list compiled last year. Lourdes Gurriel graduated, but his minor league time is still not finished as he struggles with his defense. Myworld has always felt he is better suited for the outfield. The bottom three players fell from the list and one player from the National League moved to the American League leaving room for three new players.

1. Luis Robert OF (White Sox) - He has the five tools to make him an All Star. The White Sox hope those tools stand out in the major leagues after shelling out $26 million in 2017. The White Sox signed Jose Abreu to a $10 million bonus and a six year contract reaching $68 million. Robert has the speed to play centerfield with an arm capable of playing right. Last year the power did not show in an injury ravaged season, but this year he has already clubbed 10 homeruns in 41 games. He dominated High A pitching with 8 homeruns in 19 games. AA pitching has been a bit more of a challenge (.488 slugging). The one concern with Luis is his inability to take a walk and a high rate of striking out (10/42). After hitting .453 in High A he is still hitting an acceptable .274 in AA. An outfield of Eloy Jimenez and Robert could be special. If he continues to have success expect a September promotion if they can find 40 man roster space.

2. Yordan Alvarez 1B/OF (Astros) - Robert has more tools, but Alvarez has game changing power. Last year injuries limited him to 88 games but he still slugged 20 homeruns. The Astros have tried to fit him in left field but his defense is poor. A lack of speed makes his range below average. His arm is also better suited for left. This year he has already matched his 20 homerun output of last season, and he has only played in 47 games. The Astros had acquired Alvarez from the Dodgers for Josh Fields. The Dodgers had signed Alvarez to a $2 million bonus in 2016. Triple A no longer seems to be a challenge for Yordan so expect the Astros to find some room for him on their major league roster by mid-July.

3. Yusniel Diaz OF (Orioles) - The Dodgers had signed Yusniel for $15.5 million in 2015, then traded him to the Orioles in the Manny Machado trade. His first half season in Bowie was a disappointment (.239), showing a lack of power. His defense is better suited for right field so he needs to hit to fit in a corner outfield position. There is power in his bat, though that has been slow to appear in games. He is repeating AA and his current average (.225) is lower than last year at Bowie and his power is lacking (.225/.338). He needs to hit for power if he hopes to fit as a rightfielder.

4. Julio Pable Martinez OF (Rangers) - The Rangers have Shohei Ohtani to thank for the signing of Martinez. They traded for extra international signing money in the hopes of signing Ohtani, but when he decided to sign with the Angels the Rangers had some money to spend. The Rangers spent $2.8 million to sign him. The speed exists to play center, but his arm can play right and his potential power is ideal for a corner. His first year he played in the Rookie Leagues. This year he has graduated to High A where he is struggling to hit for average (.156). Strikeouts can also be a problem with 62 in just 45 games. This will slow his rise up the minor league ladder. With a hot streak he could become a September callup, but like most prospects they will have to release a player to make room on the 40 man roster.

5. Lazaro Armentaros OF (Athletics) - He came from Cuba with a lot of hype. The Athletics signed him for $3 million and once he got on the field the Athletics discovered all his warts. For one, his arm is not strong, better suited for left field. He also has trouble making contact, whiffing 115 times in just 79 games. This could impact his ability to hit for a high average as he rises up the minor league ladder. This year that is proving true with his .224 average. The power is slow to appear with 9 homeruns in 45 games. This surpasses the 8 homeruns he hit in 79 games last year. At 20 years of age the Athletics have plenty of time to show patience. Don’t expect him in the major leagues until around 2021.

6. Rogelio Armenteros RHP (Astros) - He was signed for $40,000 back in 2014 as a 19 year old. This year he has repeated AAA after going 8-1, 3.74 ERA last year. His fastball can be dialed up to the mid-90s, usually sitting in the Low 90s, but it is his changeup that is his swing and miss pitch. His breaking pitches still need a lot of refinement. His spot on the 40 man roster provides him an opportunity to pitch on the major league roster if a need develops. He must first improve on his 1-4, 5.73 ERA. The opposition is hitting him at a .299 pace. He is a starter in the minor leagues but the Astros can still use him in relief.

7. Cionel Perez LHP (Astros) - Cionel is more than a lefthanded finesse pitcher. The Astros originally signed him for $5 million but then reduced that amount to $2 million when a medical review provided some concerns on his elbow. So far it has stayed intact since his 2016 signing. His fastball can light the radar guns in the high 90s, but usually sits in the mid-90s. The Astros have been using him in relief as well as starting so the velocity is much greater if used out of the bullpen. His breaking pitches are solid but his change needs some work. That may put him in the bullpen. Last year he made his major league debut, pitching 8 games in relief. Command was a problem with 7 walks in 11 innings. This poor command has repeated itself in AAA with 20 walks in just 32 innings, upping his ERA to 6.19. Not finding his spot has also resulted in an ugly .296 opposition average. If he wants to see himself in the major leagues in 2019 he needs to get out of his lack of command funk.

8. Osiel Rodriguez RHP (Yankees) - The first new player on this list. The Yankees signed him for $600,000 in 2018. He will not turn 18 until November but he already shows a fastball that hits the lower portion of the upper 90s, but sits in the low 90s. He has lots of arm angles and lots of pitches with a slider, change and curveball that will all see improvement as he rises up the minor leagues. Osiel will not make his debut in the minor leagues until the rookie/short season leagues start.

9. Diosbel Arias SS/3B (Rangers) - He was teammates with Julio Pablo Martinez on the 18 and under Cuban national team. When the Rangers signed Arias for $700,000 in 2017 they reunited him with Martinez. His tools are not as strong as Julio. His lack of range may make shortstop a stretch but his lack of power will make third base a bad fit. His best bet may be as a utility player ala his countryman aledmys Diaz. His batting average since his signing is .373. He makes contact but lacks the speed to be a threat on the base paths. This year his average is .306 in High A. He is still a couple years away from thinking about the major leagues.

10. Raynel Delgado SS (Indians) - Delgado was born in Cuba but came to the States as a seven year old. The Indians selected him in the sixth round of the 2018 draft out of high school. A lack of speed limits his range for short and his arm is weak, so a move is a strong possibility. His bat should hit for a decent average but he has yet to make his minor league debut. The power could develop for a move to third or he could make it as a utility player. There are miles to go before he even sniffs the major leagues.

Seawolves Down Bay Sox

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

Myworld went to our first minor league game. Matt Manning was the attraction. He went 4.2 solid innings, being taken out in the fifth because of his pitch count. He has plenty of swing and miss with his pitches, striking out eight. The Erie Seawolves romped over the last place Bowie Bay Sox 8-3.

Veteran minor leaguer Ademar Rifaela was the biggest nemesis for Manning. After Manning walked Yusniel Diaz, Ademar ripped a double down the first base line. Diaz was able to motor home from first. In the fourth Ademar blasted one into right center for a double. He scored on a Jesmeul Velentin single.

Marcus Molina got the start for the Bay Sox. He was at one time a top ten prospect for the Mets. They let him go midway through the 2018 season. A couple weeks later he was suspended for the remainder of the season for a performance enhancing drug violation. He retired the first six hitters he faced, three of them on whiffs. The Seawolves raked him in the third with a walk, three singles and a sacrifice fly to score two.

A four hit inning in the sixth to score three broke a 2-2 tie and put the game out of reach. Chance Numata led the Seawolves with three RBIs. He hit a two run single in the sixth and contributed a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Myworld is impressed with the quick bat of Yusniel Diaz. He also showed some speed on the bases and a strong arm in right field. Sergio Alcantara showed a smooth glove at short. There is some question whether he will hit, but there is no doubt of his defensive qualities. He forced Isaac Paredes to move to third. Matt Manning shoed the ability to get a lot of swings and misses. Didn’t really see too much of his curveball.

Rosenthal versus Davis; Matter/Anti Matter

Monday, April 8th, 2019

What would the result be if Trevor Rosenthal of the Nationals faced Chris Davis of the Orioles. It kind of reminds me of a Star Trek episode where two identical people from different universes could not come into contact with each other otherwise the world would explode. A sci fi matter/antimatter thing that goes beyond my intellect.

For those of you not paying attention Trevor Rosenthal has faced 9 batters this season. He has given up hits to four of them, walked four and hit a batter. That is an ERA of infinity and a WHIP that is also not calculable. The last pitcher to allow the first 9 hitters to reach base was John Hope, who did it in 1995. His career was not too memorable. Rosenthal did not pitch last year after Tommy John surgery so he could be a bit rusty after having a year off.

Chris Davis as a hitter this year has gone 0 for 23 with 13 whiffs. He has walked four times and driven in two runs so at least there has been some positives in his at bats. The previous year he did not get a hit in his last 21 at bats. Tony Bernazard holds the record for most hitless plate appearances with 57 (1974). Eugenio Velez holds the record for most consecutive at bats without a hit at 46 (2010-2011). Velez ended his major league career without getting that hit so the record stopped at 46 by default.

Since Trevor Rosenthal can not find the plate and Chris Davis is patient enough to take a walk the result would probably end in a walk. But if we took that result away as a possibility who would win this battle? The universe would probably not survive to find that question out.

Sanchez Mashes Three; Yankees Maul O’s

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

The announced attendance was just over 33,000. It seemed quite a bit less, with most of the upper deck empty. For a Yankee game you expect more, especially on a warm, sunny spring day. The Yankees thrashed the O’s 15-3 with Gary Sanchez depositing three balls into the left field bleachers. The Orioles turned to second baseman Hanser to pitch the ninth. He gave up a two run homer to Austin Romine after hitting the first batter he faced. In all the Yankees slugged seven homeruns. It was a nightmare game for the Orioles, the kind of game they hoped their fans would never witness.

It was Gleyber Torres who got the scoring started in the second for the Yankees. He slammed a pitch from David Hess deep into the bullpen in centerfield to lead off the second. One out later Clint Frazier blasted one just over the glove of a leaping Cedric Mullins in left centerfield. In his first start Hess did not give up a hit. In his second start of the season the first two hits he gave up for 2019 left the park.

Bret Gardner led off the third with a double. With two outs Gary Sanchez hit his first homerun, lining a pitch into the second row of the left field bleachers. That gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead. It is not how far you hit them, just that they carry over the fence. A double by Gio Urshella in the fourth was the last hit Hess gave up in his five innings of work. All five hits went for extra bases, three homeruns and two doubles.

Mike Wright came on to pitch for the Orioles in the sixth. The Yankee bats found his pitches just as enticing. With one out Gleyber Torres doubled off the right field scoreboard, a hit Trey Mancini may have misjudged since it struck the lower part, a ball Mancini might have been able to catch if he continued to pursue the ball. Clint Frazier drove in Torres with a single, the Yankees first single in the game.

In the seventh the Yankees poured it on. Gary Sanchez hit his second homerun of the game, a two run shot. A second walk by Wright brought in the recently acquired Dan Strailey. He gave up a double into left centerfield to score Torres. Back to back singles by Frazier and Urshela drove in the fourth run of the inning, putting the Yankees up 9-0.

The Orioles gave the fans something to cheer about in the bottom half. An infield single by Jonathan Villar that should have been ruled an error on shortstop Gleyber Torres, a walk and a lined single by Renato Nunez into left field loaded the bases with one out. With Chris Davis up a passed ball scored the first run. Davis went on to whiff. A wild pitch scored the second run. Another walk and a single by Hanser Alberto plated the Orioles third run of the inning. They were to get no more.

The Yankees bats were still hot. Gary Sanchez mashed a two run homer off Dan Strailey in the eighth. In the ninth Clint Frazier hit his second homer of the game, a two run shot off Strailey. That was when Hanser Alberto was called on to pitch. He hit Urshela with his first pitch, a 64 mile per hour fastball. Austin Romine launched one into the left field bleachers to make it 15-3.

Two more walks put two runners on. Luke Voight grounded out for the first out. That brought up Sanchez, looking to park his fourth homerun. He got a little underneath a 72 mile per hour fastball, sending a high drive into shallow left field. Gleyber Torres drove one to the warning track in right center field to end the inning.

Game Notes: Chris Davis went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. He is now hitless in 23 at bats, 13 of them strikeouts. Last year he had the worst season in the history of the major leagues, hitting just .168 with 192 whiffs in just 470 at bats. If you go back to last season he is now 0 for 44, the third worst streak in major league history (the worst being Eugenio Velez at 0 for 46, finishing his career without getting that hit to break the hitless streak). The Orioles would probably release him if they did not have to pay him more than $20 million per year for the next five seasons…David Hess was throwing his fastball at 94-95 the first three innings. By the fourth and fifth it had dropped to 91-92…Hanser Alberto was lobbing his pitches in the mid-60s. As he got more loose he was slinging it to the plate in the low 70s…Domingo German had a no hitter into the sixth. Hanser Alberto lined a one out single into right centerfield. German had a perfect game until his one out walk in the fifth,..Orioles pitchers gave up 14 homeruns in this three game series, the highest number of homeruns they have given up in a series in franchise history. They gave up seven Sunday, the highest single game total for the Bombers in 19 years.

AL East Predictions

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

1. New York Yankees

Strengths - Though the back injury to Aaron Hicks is concerning if he can recover this could be the best outfield in baseball. Aaron Judge and Hicks are solid two way players and a platoon of Bret Gardner and Giancarlo Stanton in left, with Stanton seeing the DH slot when not playing the field, could be the best in baseball. Last year the foursome combined for four homeruns over 100. The rival Red Sox may be better defensively but fall short offensively. If Hicks spends a significant time on the disabled list Gardner could move to center creating more playing time for the injury prone Stanton in the outfield and hurting the defense. The Yankees also did a good job of loading up their bullpen. Aroldis Chapman will be the primary closer but Zack Britton and Dellin Betances have had experience there. Adam Ottavino carved out six saves for the Rockies last year. The only concern is all four players are at the north side of 30.

Weakness - There could be a weakness at first. Greg Bird is having a nice spring but he has not proven himself at the major league level. Luke Voit had a special season last year but the Yankees have seen a lot of one and dones. The left side of the infield could be a hole defensively. Miguel Andujar could eventually move to first when Didi Gregorius returns to short, moving Tulowitski to third. It remains to be seen what Tulo has left and whether he can even stay healthy. Gleyber Torres could still see a lot of time at short with D.J. LeMahieu playing a lot at second. This team also seems prone to injury so depth is important.

Prospects to Make an Impact - The Yankees have a number of high level minor league pitchers ready to make a difference. Jonathan Loaisiga could be the first to get the call. He started four games for the Yankees last year. Michael King dominated in AAA (1.15 ERA) in six starts with a .147 opposition average. Albert Abreu, Chance Adams and Domingo Acevedo are other possibilities. All five could also contribute in the bullpen. Thairo Estrada could see utility time, especially if Troy shows he can not stay healthy. Thairo is a sold fielding shortstop with a questionable bat. He is still trying to recover from a bullet wound he received in Venezuela a couple years ago.

Expected Finish - This lineup should score a lot of runs if clicking on all cylinders. If they can get to the bullpen with the lead after six innings the game is over.

2. Boston Red Sox

Strengths - Hard to go against the defending World Series champions. Like the Yankees, the Red Sox outfield is premium good. Mookie Betts may be the best player in baseball outside of Mike Trout. Andrew Benintendi has a boatload of talent and Jackie Bradley is a superior defender. They may not provide the offense of the Yankees but the defense is top notch. J.D. Martinez is the best DH in the American League and one of the more dangerous. He can also play left field. The starting pitching has the potential to be good with Chris Sale and David Price providing a one/two punch and Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez making it a solid five.

Weakness - The bullpen lost their closer Craig Kimbrel and setup man Joe Kelly. It will be interesting how they sort out the roles. The blown saves will knock them out of first place. Behind the plate the Red Sox have little offense. Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez were once promising hitters when they were prospects in the minor leagues, but that has not transferred against big league pitching. Sandy Leon is the third catcher the Red Sox would like to trade.

Prospects to Make an Impact - The bullpen could use some help and Darwinzon Hernandez may be available by mid season. After that the farm system gets a little thin at the upper levels.

Expected Finish - With six teams tanking in the American League the Red Sox should still win 100 games and make the playoffs as a wild card team.

3. Tampa Bay Rays

Strengths - The Rays invented the opener because they lacked starting pitching. This could again be an issue in 2019. They do have Cy Young award winner Blake Snell who they just signed to an extension. He may be the best pitcher in baseball. They also have a lot of youth in Austin Meadows, Willy Adames and Tyler Glasnow which could lead to some upside.

Weakness - Where’s the pop? Mike Zunino and Tommy Pham may be the only players with the potential to hit 20 plus homeruns. Austin Meadows is unproven but has shown some power in the minor leagues. The lack of run support could put pressure on the pitchers to throw shutouts in every outing. They also go into the 2019 season without any proven closer. Sergio Romo and Alex Colome combined for 36 saves last year but they departed via free agency.

Prospects to Make an Impact - The Rays are a prospect machine, trading veterans early when their tread is gone. Brent Honeywell was supposed to be in the rotation last year but lost 2019 to Tommy John. He will start the season in the minors and could be up by mid-season. The Rays will want to watch his innings. Brandon Lowe and Nat Lowe can provide some instant highs on offense. Brandon could be used in a utility role and Nate will provide big time power at first base.

Expected Finish - They will fall short of a wildcard appearance and fall far behind the Yankees and Red Sox in third place.

4. Toronto Blue Jays

Strengths - This is a team that may not be at full throttle tanking but they have no expectation on making the playoffs. They signed a number of veterans to fill out positions and could trade them as the season winds down, bringing up prospects from the minor league so they can eye the future.

Weakness - The starting rotation has promise but Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez had ERAs bordering 5 last year. This is a rotation that could benefit from an opener. A lot of pitchers whose best years are in the past.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Vladimir Guerrero will be ready to post himself at third in May. He is the best prospect in baseball and should be in the Blue Jays opening day lineup. Danny Jansen is a catcher who can provide some offense. Last year he played 31 games in the major leagues so he should take over the starting role in 2019. With a porous rotation Sean-Reid Foley should see some time in the rotation by May. He made seven starts last year but was prone to the long ball.

Expected Finish - They went into this season knowing they had no chance to make the playoffs. They will finish far behind the Rays with double digit wins above the Orioles.

5. Baltimore Orioles

Strengths - When they were losing at least they bashed homeruns. That is in doubt now. If Chris Davis can resurrect his career he would attract some fans to the park. Hopefully those that do come to the games will see the hustle of youth.

Weakness - The Orioles used to win games with defense. That will not be on display this year. The starting rotation had a major league worst 5.48 ERA last year. That could go higher this year with the poor defense and the average to below average arms.

Prospects to Make an Impact - Rule V pick Richie Martin will play shortstop. His offense was a surprise last year but his defense also took a hit. Last year he made 16 errors in just 96 games at AA. It won’t take Austin Hayes long to get called back up to play right field. Last year foot injuries limited him to 66 games. Drew Jackson is a second Rule V pick who the Orioles appear to be keeping on the major league roster, He will fill a utility role around the infield. Hunter Harvey could make an appearance by mid-season but don’t be surprised if it is in the bullpen. Keegan Akin is a solid lefty who will be given an opportunity before the year is out. The Orioles have to show something for the Manny Machado trade so expect opportunities for Dean Kremer in the rotation and Zach Pop in the bullpen. Even Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz could find himself in right field by mid-season, moving Hays to left.

Expected Finish - They will battle the Marlins and Royals for the number one pick in 2020. They finished last year with the worst record, breaking a record for number of losses during a season. Two straight years with the number one pick is how one resurrects a franchise.