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With Orioles pitching coach Dave Wallace gone, here are some possible replacements

With Orioles pitching coach Dave Wallace gone, here are some possible replacements

The Orioles are faced with a monumental task. How do they replace Dave Wallace, who had three outstanding seasons as their pitching coach? 

In talking with a number of major league sources, there are many names that the Orioles could consider. Here are some of them. 

1) Dom Chiti

Chiti is the most obvious candidate. He was Wallace’s trusted lieutenant as bullpen coach, a sort of second pitching coach. 

When Wallace left to handle family matters each month, it was usually Chiti who filled in. 

Manager Buck Showalter may prefer someone else who has been a major league pitching coach, which Chiti has not. 

Chiti and Showalter worked together in Texas when Chiti held a variety of jobs. He’s well thought of in the game and could choose to go elsewhere, or he could remain as bullpen coach for a new pitching coach. 

2) Roger McDowell

McDowell who worked with Wallace and Chiti when they ran minor league pitching in Atlanta, was fired as the Braves pitching coach last week after 11 seasons. 

He’s among the most experienced available pitching coaches and was cited by former Orioles closer Jim Johnson for working well with him in Atlanta. 

McDowell ended his 12-season major league career with the Orioles in 1996. 

3) Andy Hawkins

Hawkins was one of four finalists for the job in 2013 when Wallace was hired. Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis and Tigers pitching coach Rich Dubee were the others. 

At the time, Hawkins was the Texas Rangers’ bullpen coach. He’s moved on from Texas and spent this year in the Kansas City organization as its Triple-A Omaha pitching coach. 

RELATED: Orioles make first offseason move

Hawkins was a  minor league pitching coach with the Rangers when Showalter managed there and was a player on the Yankees when Showalter was a coach. 

4) Rick Kranitz

Kranitz was the Orioles pitching coach when Showalter became manager in Aug. 2010. After the season, Kranitz and the other Orioles coaches were not retained. 

He moved on to Milwaukee in 2011 replacing Orioles minor league guru Rick Peterson as pitching coach, and while his name was mentioned for the vacancy three years ago, nothing came of it. 

Kranitz who was also a Marlins pitching coach prior to his hiring in Baltimore, moved on to the Philadelphia Phillies for this season where he served as bullpen coach. 

5) Ramon Martinez

Martinez, the Orioles’ Special Assignment Pitching Instructor, is close with Wallace and filled in for him early this season when he had to leave the club. 

Even though his concentration was supposed to be on developing Latin American pitchers, Martinez, who has not been a major league coach, is credited with working well with Wei-Yin Chen. 

6) Frank Viola

Viola is the only person on this preliminary list who has no ties to either the Orioles or Showalter. 

He is credited with outstanding work with the New York Mets’ Triple-A Las Vegas team, and is cited as an up-and-coming coach. 

Viola had a wonderful 15 season major league career and has worked his way up in the Mets organization for the past five seasons. 

7) Dave Miller

Miller, the least known name on the list, was a minor league pitcher in the Orioles organization from 1986-1992, topping out at Triple-A Rochester. 

He’s been with the Cleveland organization since 1993 in a number of roles, and spent time as the Indians bullpen coach. He’s currently a major league scout for Cleveland. 

8) Alan Mills

Mills, a longtime fan favorite, Mills spent nine of his 12 major league seasons with the Orioles. 

His work in the Orioles minor league system has been praised, and two of his pitchers at Double-A Bowie, Mychal Givens and Donnie Hart have jumped directly to the major leagues. 

The Orioles also could consider Peterson, their Director of Pitching Development and a pitching coach for three major league teams and Mike Griffin, their Triple-A Norfolk pitching coach. 

 
 

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Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

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USA Today Sports

Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

BALTIMORE  -- Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman will wear No. 34 next season as a tribute to Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash last month.

Gausman announced the switch Thursday on his Twitter account. The right-hander wore No. 39 last year.

Gausman and Halladay are both from Colorado, and the Orioles pitcher said he followed Halladay's career closely and idolized him.

In a post next a photo of his new jersey, Gausman wrote: "Roy gave me the inspiration that I could fulfill even my biggest of dreams -- being a pitcher just like him."

Gausman concluded: "The loss of Roy is tragic and saddening, but I feel honored to have watched everything he achieved."

Halladay died on Nov. 7 when his small plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He played 16 big league seasons, winning the Cy Young Award in each league and being named an All-Star eight times.

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Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

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USA TODAY Sports

Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

HOUSTON (AP) -- Home runs kept flying over the wall at Minute Maid Park, on line drives up toward the train tracks, on fly balls that just dropped over the fence.

Seven more were hit in Game 5, raising the total to a World Series record 22 -- with two possible more games to play. Twenty-five runs were scored in a game started by the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Astros' Dallas Keuchel, Cy Young Award winners regarded as among baseball's best.

After a season when sluggers outpaced even their steroid-era predecessors for home runs, some are convinced that something is amiss with the baseballs.

"The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls," Justin Verlander said Sunday, two days before he takes the mound in Game 6 and tries to pitch the Astros to their first title. "They're a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don't think it's the case of one pitcher saying, `Hey, something is different here.' I think as a whole, everybody is saying, `Whoa, something is a little off here.'"

A record eight home runs were hit in Game 2, including five in extra innings, and Game 5's seven long balls would have tied the old mark. The 13-12, 10-inning Astros' win Sunday night was the second-highest scoring game in Series history.

Keuchel was quoted as saying after Game 2: "Obviously, the balls are juiced."

Not so obvious to everyone, even amid the power surge.

"I haven't personally noticed anything. I haven't tried to think about it either," Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow said after giving up two homers in Game 5. "It's not something you want to put in your own head."

Same for Kershaw, even after giving up his record eighth homer of the postseason Sunday.

"I don't really pay attention to it," Kershaw said. "I just assume that both sides are dealing with it, so I'm not going to worry about it."

This year's long ball assault topped the 21 of the 2002 Series. Anaheim hit seven and Barry Bonds and his San Francisco Giants slugged 14 over seven games. That was the year before survey drug testing.

Speculation that something has changed includes a study claiming to have found differences in the size and seam height of balls since the 2015 All-Star break.

"I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent," said Rich Hill, who will start Game 6 for the Dodgers. "I think that just has to do with conditions -- if it's colder it's going to be slicker. If it's a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you're going to find that you're going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs."

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on.

"I'm absolutely confident that the balls that we're using are within our established specifications," he said Friday.

Verlander rejected that assertion.

"I know Mr. Manfred said the balls haven't changed, but I think there's enough information out there to say that's not true," he said.

Verlander also does not think it's an issue of how balls are rubbed up before games.

"I know baseball uses the same mud for every single ball for every single game that's played," he said. "I think there's a broader issue that we're all missing."

On the day he become commissioner in January 2015, Manfred said, "I'm cognizant in the drop in offense over the last five years, and it's become a topic of conversation in the game, and it's something that we're going to have to continue to monitor and study."

Offense started rebounding during the second half of the season, and a record 6,105 home runs were hit this year, 2.4 percent more than the previous mark of 5,963 set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era.

"I think it's pretty clear," Verlander said. "I think our commissioner has said publicly that they wanted more offense in the game. I'm pretty sure I'm not fabricating a quote here when I say that. I think it was already All-Star break of `15, or right before, when he said that."

San Francisco's Johnny Cueto and Toronto's Marcus Stroman also think the balls have changed, with Stroman blaming slick balls for a rise in pitcher blisters -- an affliction which has struck Hill a few times in the past couple seasons, too.

Houston's Brent Strom and the Dodgers' Rick Honeycutt, the World Series pitching coaches, both were quoted by Sports Illustrated on Sunday as saying the slickness of the ball made throwing sliders difficult.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't see a ton difference, but I'm not going to get in a verbal war with coaches and players who think otherwise."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a similar view but acknowledged the power records got his attention.

"The pitchers talk about it feels different in their hand. The one component is the slickness and guys at different ballparks rub it up differently," he said. "Sort of feels the same to me. But it's hard to argue the numbers. You know there's more velocity. Guys are swinging harder. I know in Los Angeles the air was light. It was hot. The ball was flying, carrying more than typically. But I hesitate to try to give you any insight because I really don't know."

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