Good morning, Camden Chatters.
Happy Fourth of July weekend, everyone. I can only hope yours is going better than Jorge Lopez’s.
The previously unhittable Orioles right-hander, who’s been getting major All-Star buzz for his breakout season as a first-year closer, is having a series to forget in Minnesota.
On Friday night, the Orioles summoned Lopez to protect a one-run lead in the ninth. The Twins walked him off.
On Saturday afternoon, the Orioles summoned Lopez to protect a one-run lead in the ninth. The Twins walked him off. Again.
It’s a painful turn of events for a guy who’s been almost automatic in the ninth inning and one of the biggest success stories of the Orioles’ intriguing season. Entering the series, Lopez had converted nine straight save attempts and 13 of 15 overall. He hadn’t allowed an earned run in his last 11 outings. Then, in less than a 24-hour span, the Twins twice sent Lopez trudging off the mound, defeated. As The Baltimore Sun’s Nathan Ruiz noted, Lopez hadn’t allowed more than six hits in any month this year — and no home runs, period — but Twins batters have gone 6-for-7 with two homers against him to begin July.
Lopez, of course, is still having a tremendous season, and probably will continue to do so. But two blown saves, on back-to-back days, would leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth. Any hope of a winning series, or a winning road trip, have evaporated for the Orioles, who will try to avoid a sweep this afternoon. If the O’s happen to have a save situation today, Lopez will likely be unavailable, as Brandon Hyde tends to avoid using relievers on three straight days. Frankly, it’s probably for the best. Jorge has probably seen more than enough of the Twins.
Jorge López consecutive blown saves vs. Twins - MLB.com
Lopez, a class act as always, spoke to the media after both blown saves and shouldered the blame, while his teammates offered him their full support. Is there any doubt this is a close-knit clubhouse?
MLB.com’s Jim Callis breaks down Orioles’ choices for 1st pick - Baltimore Baseball
In radio interview, Keith Law discusses the O’s draft prospects - Steve Melewski
Let’s talk happier news: the Orioles have the #1 overall pick in the draft and can have their choice of a top prospect. Both Callis and Law rank Druw Jones as the best player, but neither has any idea which direction the tight-lipped Orioles are leaning.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on this day, including onetime closer Tommy Hunter, who turns 36. Hunter is still active in the majors, now reunited with Buck Showalter on the Mets for his 15th big league season. Also born on July 3 were one-game lefty Jeff Rineer (67) and the late outfielder Al Pilarcik (b. 1930, d. 2010).
The Orioles’ last win on this date came in 2019, when they beat the Rays at Tropicana Field, 9-6. It was actually a 3-3 tie entering the ninth before the O’s exploded for six runs in the top of the frame, capped by a Renato Nunez three-run blast. The Rays mounted a rally of their own in the bottom half, scoring three runs off Richard Bleier and bringing the tying run to the plate, but Shawn Armstrong fanned Tommy Pham for the final out.
On this day in 1958, the Orioles won a wild game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Tied at two in extras, the O’s plated three runs in the top of the 10th on five singles, only to allow three runs to the Sox in the bottom half to tie the score again. Nobody scored again until the 15th, when two more RBI singles gave the Birds a 7-5 lead that, this time, they held. Billy Loes worked 5.2 innings of scoreless relief for the win.
And on this date in 1967, the Orioles played another marathon game, ultimately topping the White Sox, 1-0, in 14 innings. The O’s needed just two pitchers to get through the game, with starter Tom Phoebus working nine scoreless innings and Moe Drabowsky the final five, combining to allow just four hits. Brooks Robinson’s 14th-inning sac fly provided the game’s only run.