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When Orioles played Cubs, they weren't this team


When Orioles played Cubs, they weren't this team

In late August 2014, the Orioles were on their way to the American League East title. But, on the way, they stopped in Wrigley Field and got swept by the Chicago Cubs.

At the time, the Cubs were on their way to a last place finish, and bore little resemblance to the team that advanced to the National League Championship Series on Tuesday night.

Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks started games. Hector Rondon finished them, but Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber weren’t yet on the team.

We saw Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo, but didn’t get to hear Starlin Castro’s catchy walk-up song, “Ando En La Versace” by Omega because he was hurt. We did hear “Go Cubs Go,” only played after wins.

Right after the Cubs sweep, which knocked the Orioles back to 18 games over .500, the team returned home to face the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays were managed by Joe Maddon, who engaged in some notable battles with Buck Showalter.

Maddon abruptly left Tampa Bay after the season, and has had a wonderful season in Chicago.

Arrieta, Jason Hammel and Pedro Strop are on their way to the NLCS, and here’s hoping that Maddon finds a way to get Tommy Hunter active for the series against the Mets and Dodgers.

In splitting two games in New York, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly managed to avoid using Chase Utley, who is appealing his two-game suspension for breaking Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada’s leg. That hearing won’t take place until Monday.

By that time, the Dodgers will be in Chicago for the third game of the NLCS or deciding if Mattingly, whose outstanding minor league play convinced Showalter he’d never be a New York Yankee, will return as L.A.’ s manager.

While the Cubs have lots of Orioles connections, the Dodgers have Justin Turner, who briefly played with the Orioles in 2009 and 2010, and was memorable mostly for his flaming red hair. The Mets have Kelly Johnson, who made history with the Orioles in 2015 by being the first who played for all five A.L. East teams.

The AL Division series conclude today with both the Houston-Kansas City and Texas-Toronto series tied at two.

At the beginning of the Division Series, I thought the Cubs, Dodgers, Royals and Blue Jays would emerge. For a time a few days ago, I thought I’d be wrong on all counts.

This year, it looks like the Cubs are that team just as the Royals seemed when they ran through the Orioles a year ago. We’ll see if this year’s Madison Bumgarner is around to stop them.

NOTE: L.J. Hoes, who Baseball America reported was a free agent yesterday is not. The former Oriole outfielder is still on the Houston Astros’ 40-man roster.  

MORE ORIOLES: What kind of deal will Chen get in open market?

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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

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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