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Five things Orioles need to do to play longer in 2015


Five things Orioles need to do to play longer in 2015

The Orioles open the season’s second half in Detroit on Friday night. To paraphrase Buck Showalter, if they want to play more, they’ll have to play better.

What are five things they’ll need to do to play in the postseason?

1) Hit with runners in scoring position

According to Elias, the Orioles are last in the major leagues this month with runners in scoring position. They’re just 5-for-70 (.071). The next worst team, San Diego is batting .145.

Until this month, the Orioles were doing quite well at it. Part of the problem is that some of their key hitters just aren’t hitting let alone with runners on base.

So far, J.J. Hardy is batting just .125, Chris Davis .211, Adam Jones .222 and Manny Machado .231.

All of them are better hitters than that, and they’re likely to hit more robustly in the second half.

2) Get deeper starts

No Oriole has thrown a complete game, and no starter has even appeared in the ninth inning.

With Zach Britton pitching so brilliantly, there’s no need to risk a starter for the sake of a complete game, but more starts that last at least seven innings would be a help.

Only Wei-Yin Chen has consistently pitched well into games. Nine of Chen’s 17 starts have lasted seven or more, and he has four eight-inning starts. In one of them, on July 1 against Texas, he could have easily pitched the ninth because he had thrown 87 pitches, but Showalter decided to conserve him.

Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman have also started 17 times. Jimenez has seven seven-inning starts (one of them lasted eight), but Tillman has only gone seven three times.

Five of Miguel Gonzalez’s first 10 starts went seven innings, but none of his last six have. Four have been five innings or less.

Mike Wright has two, and Bud Norris one, giving the Orioles 27 seven-inning starts in 88 games. That must improve.

[MORE ORIOLES Orioles' five biggest underachievers of the first half] 

3) Get consistent production from corner outfielders

Steve Pearce and Travis Snider have both been disappointing though Snider’s 325 on-base percentage is fourth on the club behind only Manny Machado, Jimmy Paredes and Adam Jones.

Snider essentially replaced Nick Markakis in right field, and believe it or not has more home runs (3 to 0) and a higher WAR (1.4 to 1.1) than Markakis.

Realistically, Snider’s production has been wanting. He went 41 games without a home run and 20 without an RBI.

The recent move of Davis from first to right has beefed up production there, but has cost the team offensively at first as Chris Parmelee has cooled off from his hot start.

4) Hope that Zach Britton and Darren O’Day stay strong

Britton and O’Day were justly rewarded with All-Star Game invitations.

In May 2014, Britton was moved into the closer’s role and converted 33 of 37 opportunities.
This year, he’s been even better with 23 saves in 24 chances, and his only blown save ended in a win.

At 32, O’Day is having a marvelous season. He’s 5-0 with a 1.07 ERA and has allowed barely five hits per nine innings, and for a pitcher who’s not considered a strikeout guy, has fanned 12 per nine innings. His strikeout/walk ratio is a phenomenal 5.63.

It would be hard to believe that both could replicate the first 88 games in the final 76, but the Orioles need them to.

5) Concentrate on 2015, but don’t forget about 2016

That doesn’t mean trading away top-level prospects for a player who might help. It means riding with the seven free agents unless the team heads south the next two weeks.
Chen, Davis, Norris, O’Day, Pearce, Tommy Hunter and Matt Wieters are all free agents, and there’s a chance none will return in 2016.

Try and get the most out of them and hope they can help the team play beyond Oct. 4. After that, Chen, Davis and Wieters will probably get qualifying offers, reject them and once they sign elsewhere, the Orioles will get three good draft choices.

If the Orioles are still around .500 in two weeks, that doesn’t eliminate them. They’re not likely to get a great package for two months of Chen, Davis and Wieters.

Pearce hasn’t had a good season, and it’s possible he won’t a situation more attractive.

O’Day has done the most to improve his market value this season, and at first looked to be the one most likely to stay. But, would the Orioles offer him a three-year deal? He’s likely to get one elsewhere, even at 33.

He has a 22-6 record with a 1.91 ERA in four seasons with the Orioles. O’Day fits in brilliantly with this team, and the moment the 2015 season ends, they must make sure he’s back for 2016 and beyond.

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."


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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

USA Today Sports Images

Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm