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Who's more valuable now: Strop or Matusz?


Who's more valuable now: Strop or Matusz?

Pedro Strop has a 5-2 record with a 2.31 ERA. Brian Matusz is 6-10 with a 5.07 ERA. Which one is currently more valuable for the Orioles?Brian Matusz.For most of the season the idea that Matusz would outperform Strop was absurd. Matusz was sent to the minors midway through the season after being humiliated as a starter. Now, hes an effective left-handed reliever.Strop was a superb eighth-inning man and even filled in as closer when Jim Johnson was ill early in the season. These days, Orioles fans gasp when he comes in the game.Over the last month, Strop was seen his ERA nearly double from 1.20 to 2.31 and hes given up nine of the 16 runs allowed this season.Within five days, Strop had two hideous outings against the Yankees that resulted in blown saves, and on Sunday in Oakland, he allowed two hits and a walk in 15 pitches. Strop forced manager Buck Showalter to get Jim Johnson into the game for an unwanted save.Strops effectiveness allowed the Orioles to trade Matt Lindstrom for a needed left-handed starter, Joe Saunders. With Strop strong, Luis Ayala and Darren ODay complementing him, Lindstrom could be dealt.It will be interested to see what Showalter will do with Strop. Will he use him earlier in the eighth inning? Hes pitched in the seventh several times this season, but never before.Will Showalter use Ayala or ODay as the eighth-inning guy? Or perhaps someone else? The Orioles are carrying 16 pitchers, and generally use about 10 in the pen. Jason Hammel is currently unavailable, so Showalter may have slightly more limited late-inning options.Matusz is one of the more fascinating options in a season full of them. After a horrifying 2011 with a record-setting 10.69 ERA, Matusz made the team as the fifth starter, began the season acceptably before imploding in June. He was sent to Norfolk just before the All-Star break with no assurance of a hasty return. Some of his Triple-A starts were quite strong, but because of the improved performances of his replacements, Matusz stayed in Norfolk longer than he thought he needed to.In mid-August after the bullpens lone left-hander Troy Patton sprained his left ankle, Matusz was hastily converted into a reliever. After a handful of outings, Matusz was back in Baltimore, replacing veteran J.C. Romero, who failed to impress in a short audition.Since his Aug. 24 return, Matusz has thrown 9 13 innings, allowing two runs and three hits. Hes struck out 13 and walked just one, most impressive for a pitcher who had eight starts with three or more walks this year.Pattons recovery has gone slower than expected, and it will be interesting to see if Matusz has supplanted him. With the roster expansion, Zach Phillips and Randy Wolf, who started on Sunday, are on hand as left-handed options, but its Matusz who currently has Showalters confidence.While the Orioles say the right things about Strop and Matusz, its becoming more likely that one will be dealt in the offseason and another will return to the bullpen.Strop will probably have high market value. Hes young, he throws hard and is a positive force in the clubhouse. Its not hard to see another team taking a chance on him as a closer.Johnson has cemented his role as one of baseballs elite closers, and with Ayala a cheap option for next year and ODay not terribly expensive, both of them are likely to be back, with some new friends.Not long ago, Matusz was one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. After Showalters arrival in Aug. 2010, he was dynamic and great things were expected from him. Instead, he was hurt for the first two months of the season and pitched poorly.He seems comfortable and happy in the bullpen, and with the need for a left-hander who can work multiple innings as he did on Sunday, Matusz could be a bullpen mainstay.For now, Showalter is trying Jake Arrieta in the bullpen, too. Its more likely that Arrieta will be back as a rotation candidate next season. The competition will be greater. Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel and Chris Tillman seem to have proven themselves. Zach Britton has shown well at times lately and Miguel Gonzalez has been useful, too. Its unlikely that Joe Saunders will be back unless he accepts a below-market salary, and with Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman not far away, Arrieta will lots to prove.Like Matusz, Arrieta may have to do his proving in the bullpen.

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 


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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense


David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."