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Orioles don't mind being underdogs

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Orioles don't mind being underdogs

The Orioles know that many will probably make them in the underdogs in their ALDS series that starts on Sunday at Camden Yards.
Thats understandable because they are playing the big, bad New York Yankees, and theres still many who follow baseball still scratching their heads over how the Orioles made post-season play this season. Its a five-game series and many who watch baseball will assume the Yankees should be better because, well, theyre the Yankees.
Still, the numbers can tell a different story here.
New York and the Orioles split their 18-game series. Each team won nine games. The Orioles pushed the Yankees right up to the last game of the season before New York clinched the American League East title and won the division by just two games. The Orioles outplayed the Yankees in the second half of the season, but they dont really care what people think.
They know what they believe.
Weve had the quiet confidence all year, first baseman Mark Reynolds said. People doubted us all year. People have written us off all year. Weve got of baseball players in here. We dont have the superstars like a lot of teams. We just have baseball players.
That kind of belief showed up in the first round. Joe Saunders is one of those players people looked past in the first round of this years playoffs. When manager Buck Showalter picked him to start the play-in game at Texas, many were shocked.
Saunders had a 0-6 career record and a 9.38 ERA in Texas, which led many of the experts to assume the Rangers would roll. Instead, Saunders threw a solid 5 23 innings and allowed only one run.
You see all these guys on the networks talking all this Yu Darvish stuff, Yu Darvish stuff and really didnt give me a chance or us a chance, Saunders said. That was all I needed.
Thats the way its been for the Orioles since they began to challenge for the AL East title and the playoffs. The Orioles? They havent won in 15 years and cant possibly battle for post-seasonthat was the general thought in the final two months.
During those final weeks, the Orioles never looked nervous. Instead, they appeared calm, cool and collected. They knew what their goals was and went after it.
At first, people looked at the Orioles having a shot at a wild-card spot. During that time, Showalter and some players quietly kept saying they really wanted the division title. They werent going to be happy just to make it in the playoffs and smilebecause this team believed it could do more.
I wouldnt necessarily say weve proven people wrong, but we have proven ourselves right, pitcher Brian Matusz said. We know we have the talent, the team camaraderie, the coaches and all the pieces.
Adam Jones is one of those whos having lots of fun. He likes the way fans in Baltimore are backing the Orioles in a big way now.
Everybodys enjoying it, Jones said. The citys behind us right nowit took them a while to really believe into what were doing, as it should. But I think weve got them now. Weve got to keep them.
How many people outside Baltimore will believe the Orioles have a shot in this series. Probably not that many. That doesnt bother the Orioles, and theyre looking forward to this best-of-5 series with the Yankees.
Were going to keep playing and keep having fun, Matusz said.

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

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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."

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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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