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Yes, it's a different year for the Orioles


Yes, it's a different year for the Orioles

The weekend was a wonderful one for Orioles fans. Forget about Chris Tillmans elbow. Pedro Strops wildness probably will be forgotten about soon, too.The takeaway from the Orioles weekend in New York was the sound of Yankees fans booing their team.The Yankees were missing key components of their team: Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Andy Pettitte all were out with injuries and Curtis Granderson came up lame on Saturday.A-Rod is back today as the Yankees and Rays begin a three-game series.Orioles fans eagerly ask each other: Who should we root for? If the Orioles win enough games against the Yankees and Rays, there wont be a need to root against anyone.The Orioles won two of three in each of their three series at Yankee Stadium this season, and the six games won equal the prior three years totals.They need only eight more wins for the first winning season in 15. In only three of those 14 losing seasons have the Orioles won more than 74.Its a different year, right? Nick Markakis said.Right you are, Nick.Even if Tillman is out for a start or more, the Orioles have a seemingly full rotation: Wei-Yin Chen, Joe Saunders, Zach Britton, Miguel Gonzalez and Jason Hammel, set to return on Thursday.Steve Johnson, Tommy Hunter and Jake Arrieta, who will probably be called up shortly, can also start.For the first four months of the season, Troy Patton had been an indispensable left-handed force. After his sprained ankle, the Orioles surprisingly moved Brian Matusz, who chafed at starting in the minors, to the bullpen. Hes quickly adapted to the role.Randy Wolf, who won only one of his last 20 starts with Milwaukee, was sent to the bullpen to help out Matusz despite relieving just five times in 14 National League seasons.Wolf bailed out Tillman on Sunday.New York reporters made a big deal of Lew Ford, who started this season with the independent Long Island Ducks and Nate McLouth, who was buried in Norfolk five weeks ago.These guys are beating the Yankees?The New York lineups were full of their own no-names with Orioles connections.Steve Pearce, who spent six weeks with the Orioles earlier this season, had a key hit on Saturday. The Orioles had Clay Rapada last year, but no room for him on the 40-man this year. Hes a bullpen mainstay for the Yankees.The Orioles passed on Derek Lowe when the Indians let him go last month. The Yankees picked him up and put him in the bullpen.Its not just the Orioles who rely on players who were once stars elsewhere. Everyone does, even the Yankees.Not every move the Orioles made worked. When Dan Duquette picked up J.C. Romero to replace Patton, he quickly saw Romero could no longer cut it.Four innings, thats all she wrote, Romero said. For a few days, Matusz was the only left-hander in the bullpen. Now, hes been joined by Wolf, and Zach Phillips, whose contract was purchased earlier today. None is an experienced big league reliever.This most resourceful team, this most appealing team, is a legitimate playoff contender, with the real possibility it could win the AL East.Its a different year, right?

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Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7


Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7

ATLANTA -- For Braves manager Brian Snitker, playing the matchups meant pitching to Manny Machado with first base open and a marathon game on the line.

The Orioles slugger made that strategy look foolish.

Machado hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 15th inning, lifting Baltimore to a 10-7 win over Atlanta on Friday night after each team staged dramatic ninth-inning rallies.

The Braves surrendered six runs in the ninth, and then scored four times in the bottom of the inning.

Peter Moylan, Atlanta's eighth pitcher, hit Craig Gentry to open the 15th. Gentry moved to second on Austin Wynns' sacrifice.

With first base open, the Braves pitched to Machado and he responded with his 19th homer, a drive into the Orioles' bullpen in left.

Snitker said the right-handed Moylan is tough on right-handed hitters but acknowledged "you hate like hell (Machado) is one of them."

Machado said an intentional walk "crossed my mind at first. I thought they were. In that situation they probably had faith in Moylan out there that he could get some ground balls to the left side of the infield."

Machado hit a 0-2 slider Moylan said was "supposed to be middle in." Moylan said the pitch "slipped out of my hand and ended up middle middle."

Moylan (0-1) gave up another run on singles by Colby Rasmus and Jonathan Schoop.

Mike Wright Jr. (1-0), Baltimore's seventh pitcher, threw two scoreless innings.

The game lasted 5 hours, 21 minutes.

The Orioles trailed 3-1 heading into the ninth, and the Braves rallied against closer Zach Britton in the bottom of the inning. Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino was not used while Dan Winkler allowed four runs while recording only one out.

Snitker said he rested Vizcaino because of shoulder soreness and he might be available on Saturday.

Chris Davis hit a drought-breaking homer and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly as Baltimore opened a 7-3 lead.

Britton got one out and was charged with four runs and five hits. He gave up a single to Johan Camargo and a double to Danny Santana before hitting Ender Inciarte to load the bases.

Ozzie Albies' bases-loaded single drove in Camargo. Freddie Freeman's two-run single cut the lead to one before Nick Markakis tied the game with a double to right field.

Atlanta had jumped in front on Charlie Culberson's tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth.

Davis, making his first start since June 11, hit his first homer since May 9 in the fifth. Camargo tied the game with his run-scoring double in the seventh.

Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb allowed five hits in seven innings.

Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb permitted four hits in seven innings

The start of the game was delayed 11 minutes by rain.

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.