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Orioles end first half with 3-2 loss to Nationals


Orioles end first half with 3-2 loss to Nationals

BALTIMORE – They’re scattering now, to their offseason homes, to beaches, to mountains. Some will stay around Baltimore and four go off to Cincinnati for the All-Star Game.

The Orioles head into the four-day break with a 44-44 record. Two weeks ago, they had higher hopes. They’d won 17 of 22 and end the first half with 10 losses in 13 games.

It didn’t help that Max Scherzer dazzled the Orioles, allowing two home runs to Adam Jones and little else as the Washington Nationals beat the Orioles 3-2 before 46,247 at Oriole Park on Sunday.

Jones hit his 13th home run with two outs in the first and his 14th with two outs in the ninth. In between, Scherzer allowed just two sixth inning singles.

“No one can solve that man. He’s throwing the ball extremely well, and you see it out there. He knows it. You got to bring your A game because he’s always on his A game,” Jones said.

Scherzer (10-7) allowed two runs on four hits in 8 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking none. Drew Storen recorded his 27th save by striking out Chris Davis.

Wei-Yin Chen (4-5) allowed a leadoff single to Yunel Esobar in the fourth. With two outs, Clint Robinson singled. Dan Uggla’s single scored Escobar, and Tyler Moore’s double scored Robinson and Uggla, who had taken second on Jones’ error.

That gave Washington (48-39) a 3-1 lead.

Chen (4-5) continued his string of creditable starts. He allowed three runs, one unearned on eight hits in eight innings, striking out seven and walking none.

On Friday, the second half of the season begins and the Orioles play nine games at Detroit, New York and Tampa Bay.

“So come out, second half. These next four days a lot of people will get away from the game of baseball, come out the second half, ready to go. It’s time to focus, time to put that head down and ride it out and get into July, August and ride into September,” Jones said.

Jones, Zach Britton, Manny Machado and Darren O’Day go to Cincinnati.

Manager Buck Showalter will stay home and think about the second half.

“There's a guilt trip around every corner. I don't want to feel that way. The effort's been great, the want-to's been there,” Showalter said. “We're trying to win the next game, and that's in Detroit. I want these guys to get as far away from it as they can, take some pride in the way they've competed and knowing that it's still there for them. We don't look at what somebody else is doing or can do until we do things we can do and have done this year to be consistent. A lot of baseball left and we're engaged in the competition and will continue to be.”

Machado was the team’s outstanding player in the first half, hitting .298 with 19 home runs and 48 RBIs.

“I feel confident with the team we have here. The pitchers are doing well. I think you saw today, Chen, I think it’s been like his last seven starts have been phenomenal. Our pitching staff is doing well. Our bats are there. We’ve just got to put them together and just keep fighting. It’s a long season. We’ve just got to keep grinding it out,” Machado said.

The Orioles are 1-for-36 with runners in scoring position in their last six games, and they’ll have to do better in the second half.

“You’ve got to score more runs, give up less runs, and play better defense. It’s a joint thing. We haven’t really felt like we’ve been able to hit on all cylinders where offense and pitching has kind of clicked together. That’s the key, and our starting pitching is throwing the ball well. They’re going to keep doing that. The offense [has to] step up a little bit,” Matt Wieters said.

The trading deadline is on July 31, and the Orioles could make moves—or maybe not.

“I look at all the answers we're going to need are in our locker room and in our organization. I'm very confident in the people we have,” Showalter said.

NOTES: The Orioles lost their first series to the Nationals at home since 2007. … Jones has 180 home runs with the Orioles, passing Frank Robinson for eighth on the team’s home run list. “He did that in six years here? Took me eight. He’s a little better,” Jones said..  … Bud Norris pitched in relief for the first time at home, throwing a scoreless ninth. … The three games, which were all sellouts, drew 137,031. …The Orioles begin a three-game series in Detroit on Friday. Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 2.81) faces Anibal Sanchez (8-7, 4.63).

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

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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

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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