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Orioles try to prevent first three-game losing streak of 2016

Orioles try to prevent first three-game losing streak of 2016

Tonight's Game: Baltimore Orioles (11-7) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (9-10), Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla., 7:10 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1, 3.71) vs. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 3.97)

Keys to the Game:

Can Jimenez again pitch well against Tampa Bay? He's 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA in five starts. 

Can the Orioles prevent their first three-game losing streak of 2016?

News and Notes:

Adam Jones is 8-for-20 (.400) with a home run against Odorizzi. Manny Machado is 7-for-19 (.368) with two home runs against Odorizzi. 

After Ryan Flaherty's surprising demotion to Norfolk, the Orioles are left without a backup infielder. 

Logan Morrison is 3-for-3 against Jimenez. 

The Orioles haven't hit a home run in four of their last six games, but still lead the American League with 27 homers.

Joey Rickard is 1-for-16.

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Yes, that was Chris Davis on the mound for the Orioles

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Yes, that was Chris Davis on the mound for the Orioles

Chris Davis is known for many things. Towering home runs, playing first base well, and setting record-long hitless streaks are all among them.

What isn’t among them is pitching, yet that’s what he was tasked with doing Saturday night.

In Game Two of the Orioles’ doubleheader with the Twins, Baltimore’s pitching staff was rocked. They allowed 15 runs in the first eight innings of the game, and after 17 innings pitched on the day, manager Brandon Hyde didn’t want to tax his bullpen any further.

He turned to Davis, who last pitched in 2012 during a 17-inning marathon in Boston. Davis didn’t allow any runs that May afternoon seven years ago, giving him a career pitching WAR of an astounding 0.2.

His last appearance was so successful that in his offseason arbitration negotiations, long before his current 7-year, $161 million deal, Davis asked for a small fraction of his contract to specifically be designated for his pitching prowess.

He wasn’t as successful in his outing against the Twins. Considering his first appearance was on the road, maybe now he fully understands why pitching at Camden Yards is so difficult?

In one inning Saturday, Davis allowed two hits and one earned run. More importantly, he recorded a strikeout, the third(!!) of his career on the mound.

Davis may have struggled at the plate in 2019, but at least he never struck out against someone whose job has nothing to do with striking batters out.

Saturday’s games marked the first return to Camden Yards for former Oriole Jonathan Schoop, a fan favorite over the years at second base. Funnily enough, the sole earned run Davis allowed came off a monstrous home run from Schoop.

Considering their long relationship as teammates, it’s no surprise the two were laughing together as Schoop trotted around the bases. 

Apparently, Davis just can’t win this season. First he sets an ignominious record at the plate, and now that he’s finally heating up with the bat, he loses his incredible mojo on the mound.

Hopefully his luck on the mound turns around like it has with the bat. And yes, that means we are very, very interested in more Chris Davis pitching appearances. In a rebuilding season with 100+ losses a distinct possibility, who wouldn’t want more fun like this?

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Orioles pitcher Branden Kline's mom steals fans hearts with emotional interview

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Orioles pitcher Branden Kline's mom steals fans hearts with emotional interview

For Branden Kline, it was a long winding road to his shot in the Major League.

Since being selected in the second round of the 2012 draft, he had three surgeries and spent six years in the minor leagues. So when he got the call up from Triple A to help the Orioles in their double-header on Saturday, he did what any person would do after hearing that kind of news: Cried for "a solid 30 minutes", he admitted to reporters.

From MLB.com:

“I’m a little bit of a softie,” Kline admitted, standing at his new locker in the Orioles clubhouse Saturday afternoon. “I was really excited, and the emotions started to hit me, just thinking about the journey it’s taken to get me here to this point.”

And on the day of his debut, his mom, in an interview with the TV station MASN followed suit. 

Linda Kline, wiping tears, was asked about her feelings on her son's debut.

"Emotional," she said. "He worked so hard to get here."

Kline spoke about taking her son, a Frederick, Md. native, to games at Camden Yards when he was a kid. The family, she said, would sit in the "nosebleed" section. So to watch him on that diamond on Saturday?

"It was worth every minute," she said, "... This is something we'll remember for the rest of our lives."

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