Orioles

Orioles pull off an unlikely win

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Orioles pull off an unlikely win

For eight innings, Bartolo Colon baffled the Orioles. In the ninth, they solved him. Trailing by two runs in the ninth, the Orioles scored three runs and had an unlikely 5-2 win and series win over the Oakland Athletics before 31,793 on Sunday.In the ninth, J.J. Hardy led off with a single. Nick Markakis struck out. Adam Jones grounded a ball back to Colon that he threw away for an error. With runners on second and third, Colon was removed, and Grant Balfour (0-1) came on. Matt Wieters doubled off the left field wall to score Hardy and Jones. Endy Chavez ran for Wieters. Chris Davis was walked intentionally and Wilson Betemit slammed a ball over the top of the right-center field fence for ta three-run home run.Pedro Strop (3-1) pitched the ninth for the win.After five scoreless innings and four singles, Tommy Hunter allowed a two-out single to Josh Reddick in the sixth, and a double down the left field lane by Yoenis Cespedes, which scored Reddick.Leading off the seventh, Seth Smith homered to left, his second of the year, and Oakland (11-12) had a 2-0 lead.The 38-year-old Colon has started 25 times against the Orioles (14-8) dating back to 1998, and hes reinvented himself as a control pitcher. On Sunday, he pitched allowed three hits in the first three innings, then retired 11 straight batters.Nolan Reimold extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a leadoff double in the first. On a hit-and-run, Hardy lined to first base, and Reimold was doubled off second. Only in the seventh did the Orioles put multiple runners on base. Markakis doubled to lead off, and after two were out, Davis walked. Betemit popped to short to end the inning.The Orioles had a chance in the eighth when Robert Andino singled with one out in the eighth, but he was quickly rubbed out on Reimolds double-play ball.Hunter worked seven innings, allowing two runs and seven hits. He walked one and struck out two.NOTES:-Markakis threw out his first baserunner of the year in the fourth inning when Smith tried to stretch a single into a double.-The Orioles begin a three-game series in New York against the Yankees on Monday night. Jason Hammel (3-0, 1.73) pitches against Hiroki Kuroda (1-3, 3.48).

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Manny Machado pens goodbye to O's fans on Instagram

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USA Today Sports Images

Manny Machado pens goodbye to O's fans on Instagram

Days after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that captivated much of Major League Baseball, former Oriole Manny Machado took to Instagram to thank the only organization he's ever known. 

The 26-year-old's contract expires at the end of this season, which the Orioles chose not to renew as the last-place club enters a rebuilding phase. 

Machado put up big numbers in the team's first 97 games totaling career-highs in home runs (24), RBIs (65), OBP (.387) and OPS (.962). 

He is expected to play shortstop for a Dodgers club which finished the first half of the season 10 games above .500 in a competitive, tight NL West. 

The Dodgers will pay Machado $6.3 million. 

To my Baltimore family, I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out how I would say goodbye but there wasn’t an easy way to do it. I first joined this organization at the age of 17 and these past eight years have far exceeded anything I ever could’ve imagined. Throughout the ups and downs, you embraced me unconditionally and you took a kid from Miami and brought me up as one of your own. I’ve enjoyed my time here and you all have played a big part in that!! Thank you Birdland! You are forever in my heart! To the Baltimore Orioles, it has truly been a blessing to put on that uniform every day. To the Angelos Family & Dan Duquette, thank you for making my dreams come true!!! To Buck and the coaching staff, thank you for your commitment and dedication to making me the best player and teammate I can possibly be…I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you. To my teammates, we’ve shared some amazing times with lots of memories & friendships that I’ll cherish forever. Schoopy, I love you bro and I know you will carry the torch!!! ! Much love always, Manny #13

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RELATED LINKS: 

Manny Machado trade rumors are dominating headlines at All-Star Game 

Orioles star shortstop Manny Machado traded to Los Angeles Dodgers 

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Redskins 2018 position outlook: Inside linebacker

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Redskins 2018 position outlook: Inside linebacker

Redskins Training camp opens next week, and we have a break here, giving us time to put the depth chart under the microscope.

Between now and the start of camp, we will look at every position, compare the group to the rest of the NFL, see if the position has been upgraded or downgraded from last year, and take out the crystal ball to see what might unfold.

Inside linebackers

Additions: Shaun Dion Hamilton (drafted in the fifth round)

Departures: Will Compton (free agent)

Starters: Zach Brown, Mason Foster

Other roster locks: Josh Harvey-Clemons

On the bubble: Hamilton, Zach Vigil, Martrell Spaight

How the inside linebackers compare

To the rest of the NFL: This is a difficult comparison to make since only about half of the teams use the 3-4 with two inside linebackers and there are many variations when they go out of their base defense. Brown certainly is in the upper tier of players at his position. Foster’s skill set may not be coveted by many teams around the league, but he is a perfect fit in the Redskins’ defense in many ways. The player who could differentiate this group from others around the league is Harvey-Clemons. If he turns into a top-notch nickel LB the inside linebackers will be a great asset. 

To the 2017 Redskins:  This is about health. In 2017, Foster missed 11 games, Brown was hampered by a variety of injuries before sitting out the last three games. Compton was the top backup to both players and he went to injured reserve after just three starts. They did re-sign Vigil, who had spent training camp with the team, and he played pretty well near the end of the season. If the front-line players can stay on the field for most of the season this should be a much better group than the one that was partially responsible for the league’s 32nd-ranked rushing defense. 

2018 Inside linebacker outlook

Biggest upside: The 2017 season was supposed to be a redshirt year for Harvey-Clemons as he transitions from college safety to NFL linebacker. He played a lot in the base defense during the offseason practices and that indicates that they are considering him for a bigger role beyond just playing nickel. You have to wonder how his size (6-4, 230) will affect his ability to get off of blocks. 

Most to prove: Spaight was a fifth-round pick in 2015 and he has yet to establish a regular role in the defense. It was telling that when they needed someone to start in the latter part of last year they brought back and started Vigil and mostly kept Spaight is going into the last year of his contract, but it would not be surprising to see Vigil beat him out for the last roster spot.  

Rookie watch: The Redskins traded up in the sixth round to get Hamilton. It wasn’t a blockbuster deal but the fact that they thought enough of him to move up says something. Gruden has said that he thinks Hamilton could be a starter at some point. He was one of the leaders on a strong Alabama defense before injuries struck. Hamilton is not going to start this year barring multiple injuries, but he should develop a role as the season goes on and be ready to compete in 2019.

Bottom line: The Redskins have not invested much in terms of free agent dollars or draft capital in the inside linebacker position in recent seasons. That changed somewhat this offseason as they made sure to spend to retain Brown and Foster. Neither commanded a huge contract but they did make a commitment and that is important. Last year Brown gave the defense a sideline-to-sideline dimension it hasn’t had in quite some time and retaining him was critical. Inside linebacker may not be a major strength for the defense this year but it should be able to get the job done. 

2018 Redskins position outlook series