This past Sunday, the 2018 baseball season officially came to an end as the Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games in the World Series. It is Boston’s fourth championship in the last 15 years. The Red Sox won 108 regular season games this year and had the best record in baseball
As has been known for quite some time, Orioles shortstop Manny Machado is on the verge of free agency once the 2018 season wraps up. Given his elite status — both as a defender and a perennial .250+ average, 30+ home run hitter — it makes sense that the club would try to flip him at the trade deadline for whatever prospects they can get their hands on, rather than simply letting him walk away once his contract expires. The latest report from Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun claims that the Orioles are considering seven different offers from the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Phillies, Braves, Indians and Cubs, with a few other teams rumored to be interested as well.
Encina adds that the list is structured in order of appeal, with the Dodgers leading the group. The specific players on the table have yet to be disclosed, and while it stands to reason that the Orioles would target the top prospects from each organization, no. 1 outfield prospect Alex Verdugo isn’t likely to move out of Los Angeles’ farm system anytime soon. Given how close the offers appear to be, it’s still anyone’s game (er, shortstop), though an agreement could be struck even sooner than the July 31 deadline if the Orioles find the right combo of prospects.
Machado, who turned 26 on Friday, is capping a seven-season campaign with the team, one that has seen three All-Star nominations, two Gold Gloves and three strong bids for AL MVP. He entered Saturday’s competition batting .310/.381/.560 with 21 home runs, seven stolen bases and a .942 OPS through 375 plate appearances. He’ll receive the remainder of a $16 million salary as he closes out his final chapter with Baltimore this year.
Orioles' Cashner after another wasted quality start: 'It's just as hard for [the offense] as it is for me'
After each of his past five non-rain-delay outings, Andrew Cashner has been remarkably positive despite the disappointing results — that each start has gone to waste.
When Cashner joined the Orioles during spring training, it was to pitch for a contender. Since then, he’s said several times that winning is what’s most important to him, especially more so than his pitching line.
For the most part, Cashner has held up his end of the bargain, recording his ninth quality start this season in 17 outings in the Orioles’ 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Thursday night. That includes one start June 20 that ended prematurely after a lengthy rain delay in Washington. Take out that start and Cashner has recorded five straight quality starts.
But he’s received the lowest run support of any member of the Orioles’ starting rotation, receiving just 1.64 runs per start. Thursday marked the sixth time in his past seven starts in which the Orioles scored two runs or fewer when he left the game.
“Cashner pounded the zone,” said second baseman Jonathan Schoop, whose two solo homers accounted for all of the Orioles offense Thursday. “He threw strikes. He kept the hitters off balance and we didn’t score much for him. It’s a little bit of frustration but everybody wants to do good. It’s not like we didn’t want to score for him, so I hope things start changing.”
Cashner said knowing he’s pitching with a small margin of error has helped him keep focused, especially on a night like Thursday, when he said he had his “worst stuff” this season. He was missing high with his four-seam fastball and struggled locating his two-seamer to left-handed hitters, getting no swinging strikes on the pitch.
“I feel like when you’re not scoring runs, you keep your mind sharp on what I want to do out there, thinking pitch to pitch,” Cashner said. “When you have a big lead, sometimes you don’t do that as well. I think it’s keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate and really focusing on down or up and getting over the front side and stuff like that.”
You can’t win when you don’t score runs, and the Orioles’ record is 4-13 in games Cashner has started. But, once again, Cashner tried his best to put a positive spin on a frustrating night.
“Yeah, these guys do want to score runs,” Cashner said. “It’s more about picking those guys up in spots. We hit the ball hard today. They made some great plays. It’s more from a team aspect of picking guys up and constantly staying positive and not really focusing on the negative. I’m a big positive guy, so for me when I’m not pitching, try to pick these guys up because it’s just as hard for them as it is for me.”
While America celebrates the Fourth of July, it’s a holiday that hasn’t given much reason for the Orioles to cheer.
Over the past 10 years, the Orioles have a 3-7 record in games played on the Fourth of July, which includes a loss in 2014’s makeup against the Boston Red Sox. It was postponed July 4 because of rain and played the next morning.
Against the National League, the Birds fare even worse.
The past two July 4th games were interleague play, a nighttime loss against the Milwaukee Brewers and a daytime loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both were away games, just like today’s game in Philadelphia.
Matched up strictly against the American League, Baltimore has a relatively better 3-5 record. That includes a pair of losses to the Chicago White Sox, a victory over the Seattle Mariners, a loss to the Los Angeles Angels and two-game splits with the Red Sox and Texas Rangers.
Two of the three American League wins came before manager Buck Showalter. In the Showalter Era, late 2010 to present day, the Orioles have a 1-6 Fourth of July mark.
The last time the Orioles picked up a win on America’s birthday was in 2012. That was, coincidentally, the last time they played at home.
Perhaps just as surprising as the Orioles’ poor showing on the Fourth in the past decade is how many times they’ve celebrated the holiday at home. That would be once, a 10-4 win over the Rangers in 2008. They are 2-7 on the road, which does not exactly bode well for today.
A log of the Orioles’ Fourth of July record since 2008:
2017 — Brewers beat the Orioles, 6-2
2016 — Dodgers beat the Orioles, 7-5
2015 — White Sox beat the Orioles, 3-2
2014 — Red Sox beat the Orioles, 3-2 (July 5 make-up of July 4 rainout)
2013 — White Sox beat the Orioles, 3-2
2012 — Orioles beat the Mariners, 4-2
2011 — Rangers beat the Orioles, 13-4
2010 — Orioles beat the Red Sox, 6-1
2009 — Angels beat the Orioles, 11-4
2008 — Orioles beat the Rangers, 10-4
The Orioles signed their second-highest pick in June’s first-year player draft, making their deal with Oregon State shortstop Cadyn Grenier official. Grenier, who was the Orioles’ competitive balance pick at No. 37 overall, received a $1.8 million signing bonus, just shy of the $1,923,500 slot…