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The Orioles lost Bautista but kept their composure in August

The Orioles lost the most dominant closer in baseball to a UCL injury during the month of August. The team still managed to take another step toward a division title.

Colorado Rockies v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Heading towards this weekend’s Division Series, Camden Chat writers will be looking at each of the winning months that got the Orioles to where they are right now. Previously: March and April, May, June, July. Today: August

Record: 18-9 (83-50 overall)

Injuries: Danny Coulombe — left bicep tendonitis (15 days), Aaron Hicks — lower back strain (15 days), Félix Bautista — right UCL injury (remainder of season).

Worst Loss: 8/8. The Orioles led the Astros by three when Félix Bautista took the mound in the ninth. Kyle Tucker blasted a grand slam off the All-Star closer to secure a 7-6 win the first of three games at Camden Yards.

Best win: 8/13. Cedric Mullins announced his return by robbing a home run in the ninth and launching a go-ahead homer in extra innings. The Orioles secured the series against Seattle with their second consecutive extra-inning victory.

Best position player (fWAR): Ryan Mountcastle, 1.3 WAR. Mountcastle slashed .360/.444/.540 over 27 games in the month of August. The first baseman tore the cover off the ball after spending a month on the IL with vertigo.

Best pitcher (fWAR): Kyle Bradish, 0.8 WAR. Bradish continued to solidify his place atop the rotation by going 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA in five starts.


The Orioles entered the month of August with the most intimidating closer in baseball. Unfortunately, when the calendar turned, Baltimore’s bullpen found itself without The Mountain.

Félix Bautista came within one strike of a save before exiting a game against the Rockies. The All Star suffered a UCL injury on the eve of his bobblehead giveaway night and never returned. The Orioles closed out one-run victories on both nights, but the injury immediately qualified as the most impactful transaction of the season.

Bautista took steps toward a return before the Orioles officially pulled the plug. Bautista will miss the remainder of this season and likely all of 2024. The O’s adjusted during the final week of August, and they will continue to function without Bautista moving forward.

Brandon Hyde turned to a combination of Yennier Cano and Cionel Pérez in place of his closer. Pérez pitched to a 1.94 ERA over 12 games in August, and Cano did not allow an earned run over 13 appearances.

The Orioles recalled DL Hall to fill the roster spot vacated by Bautista. Hall only made three appearances during the final week of August, but the 25-year-old should have an opportunity to do something special in the postseason.

The bullpen received a boost after claiming Jacob Webb on August 7. Hyde went to Webb early and often, and the veteran reliever carved out a significant role that should yield a spot on the playoff roster.

Cano and Pérez did their best to step up, but Bradish earned the nod of most valuable pitcher. Bradish posted a 2.12 ERA over five starts while limiting opponents to a .189 batting average.

Grayson Rodriguez returned in July, but his ERA dropped over a full run in August. Rodriguez completed six or more innings in four consecutive starts and posted a 2.64 ERA over 30.2 innings.

Bradish and Rodriguez will likely make the first two starts in the ALDS with John Means slated as the third starter. Means kicked off his in-game rehab with multiple appearances at Bowie and Norfolk throughout August. He finally made his season debut in Baltimore on September 12.

Baltimore’s victory over Seattle on August 13—AKA the Cedric Mullins game—demonstrated the type of impact Mullins can make on any given night. Mullins made several impressive plays in center, and his late-inning heroics helped stifle a streaking Seattle team that missed the playoffs by only one game.

Aaron Hicks briefly joined the Orioles on August 14 before returning to the IL less than a week later. Ryan McKenna hit .250 over 16 games in his absence, but the defensive replacement will likely find himself on the outside looking in with Hicks healthy for the playoffs.

The Orioles rolled with the punches after losing Bautista. The entire organization admitted that there was no replacing a pitcher of Bautista’s caliber, but the group never ran from the challenge. Baltimore continued to exceed expectations throughout the month of August, and the club will do its best to keep the trend going this October.

Tomorrow: September