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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Orioles MiLB Weekly Recap: July 1-6

A look at how all four Baltimore Orioles Minor League affilates performed this past week

*Cover Photo Credit: Grant DeVivo


Happy belated 4th of July! I hope all of you Birdland fans had a safe and fun filled holiday and holiday weekend.


While many of us were out doing various things for the 4th of July holiday, the Orioles and their affiliates were playing our national past time. For the Minor League teams, this past week's schedule was different as instead of playing the traditional Tuesday through Sunday 6-game series, all Minor League teams played a 6-game Monday through Saturday series so they could enjoy two consecutive and well deserved days off on Sunday and Monday. Half of the series was played in one team's home ballpark, while the other half was played in the other team's home ballpark. For example, say that Norfolk was on the road in Durham for the first three games of the series. Then, the final three games were played in Norfolk.


Does that make sense? I probably did not do a great job explaining that.


:(


Oh well. Let's look at how each Orioles affiliate did this past week!


AAA Norfolk Tides

For 4th of July baseball, the Tides did battle with the Durham Bulls (Rays AAA). The last time these two teams met was way back in late March, Opening Weekend to be exact, and the Tides won the 2023 International League championship rematch with a 2-1 series win. This time around, Durham flipped the script around and took this 6-game set 4-2, thus putting them ahead in the season series 5-4.


Garrett Cooper's big first week with the Tides earned him International League Player of the Week. Photo: Skylar Prieto

The Tides' 3-2 win in Game 1 saw Chayce McDermott toss a in which he allowed just 3 hits and 3 walks, and his 12 strikeouts were a career high. His phenominal outing gave the Tides a chance to win, and three runs proved to be all they needed thanks to McDermott, the Orioles' No. 8 prospect. Jackson Holliday and Kyle Stowers accounted for two of the three runs with solo home runs. The next day, the Tides collected 12 runs on 12 hits but still couldn't pull out a win as the pitching surrendered 13 runs (7 from the bullpen) on 18 hits. Meanwhile, Durham went 8-for-15 with runners in scoring position. On the 4th of July, the Tides broke out the bats in a 17-7 win that saw Connor Norby and newcomer Garrett Cooper launch home runs and Holliday go 2-for-4. Justin Armbruester went 4.1 innings, allowing just 3 earned runs while striking out 5. Overall, it was a wonky series. One day, the pitching was on and the hitting wasn't. Another day, the hitting was on and the ptching wasn't. Another day, either nothing or all was working. It was one of those wierd unpredictable ones in which the Tides had difficulty finding luck on ther side, and they were unable to pull off a series win. It was just...wierd.


The Tides are 4-7 in the second half which is good for eighth place in the International League East. They are 40-46 overall on the season. Here are three standout performers from the 4th of July week.


  • IF Garrett Cooper: the 8-year MLB veteran inked a Minors pact with the O's last week and made his presence known this week, going 8-for-19 (.421) with 4 home runs, 10 RBI, and the International League Player of the Week award. Welcome to Birdland, Garrett!

  • P Chayce McDermott: the prospect poitcher set a career high in strikeouts on Monday with 12. He tossed 7 innings of one run baseball and kept his pitch count under control with 95 (67 strikes).

  • IF Connor Norby: the Orioles' No. 5 prospect, according to the updated MLB Pipeline rankings, went 10-for-29 (.345) last week and collected 3 home runs and 9 RBI across the final three games of the series.


After two days off, the Tides return to business with a 6-game road trip starting tomorrow at the Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals AAA).


AA Bowie Baysox

The last time te Baysox and the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants AA) did battle back in May, the Baysox fell hard to the Flying Squirrels with a 5-1 series loss. Last week, neither team could pull away with a series win as each team drew three wins.


Peter Van Loon returned from the injured list on Saturday with 4.1 scoreless innings. Photo John Topoleski

It was a quiet series with the bats for Bowie, especially the first two games. During those two games, they only collected 12 hits and went a disappointing 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Long surrendered 4 earned runs on Monday and even after the Baysox bullpen held down the fort after Long, those four runs were enough for Richmond to come out victorious by a score of 3-2. The next day, the offense remained quiet but that did not matter as winning pitcher Kyle Brnovich tossed 5 scoreless innings without walking a batter. Dan Hammer eventually collected the save. On Wednesday, infront of 8,975 hopping fans, the bats found stride a little bit more, and Samuel Basallo led the charge with an absolute moonshot in the third inning. The pitching could not hold down the fort, and the Baysox fell 9-5. Bowie did manage to take two of the last three games of the series, all of which came in Richmond's home territory. They were low scoring affairs, but the pitching showed up and that was thedifference. It was very nice to see righty Peter Van Loon return to the Baysox on Saturday. He has spent all season rehabbing from an injury, and he returned to the mound on Friday with 4.1 scoreless innings.


The Baysox sit at 39-41 overall, and they are 7-5 in the second half of the season. They are two games out of first place in the Southwestern division of the Eastern League. Here are three standout performers from last week's 4th of July happenings.


  • RHP Peter Van Loon: welcome back, Peter! The righty returned from the injured list on Saturday with a 4.1 inning gem. He allowed just 2 hits, struck out 6 batters, and walked none.

  • RHP Kyle Brnovich: the right-hander tossed 5 scoreless innings on Tuesday while striking out 4 batters. He allowed just 3 hits and like Van Loon, walked none.

  • RHP Nick Richmond: the 26-year-old did a very nice job out of the Baysox bullpen last week. He threw 5 total innings with 5 strikeouts, and he collected his third save of the season on Thursday.


Bowie remains on the road this week as they begin a 6-game series at the Altoona Curve (Pirates AA) tonight. They dropped their last series against Altoona 5-1.


A+ Aberdeen Ironbirds

The Ironbirds did battle with the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pirates A+) last week and unfortunately, the Grasshoppers came away with a 5-1 series win. They hung on well with the Grasshoppers and kept things close. However, it was the small things that cost them. Costly base running mistakes, defensive errors, and an inability to find the strike zone on the mound were some of the many reasons why Greensboro was able to pull away with the series win.


Adam Retzbach hit a game-winning grand slam on Saturday to propell the Ironbirds to an 11-10 win. Photo: Grant DeVivo

The Ironbirds, the comeback kids, swung the bats well all week, and they have improved their offense jurastically since the start of the season. In Game 1, Aberdeen gave a vallant final effort and scored three runs total in the 8th and 9th innings to make it a close 8-6 final that had Greensboro on the edge of their seats. Adam Retzbach contributed with a solo home run in the eighth, then Reed Trimble and Mac Horvath whacked RBI doubles in the 9th inning to bring the 'Birds back within two runs. On Wednesday, Greensboro barely escaped again as their 6-5 win saw Horvath threaten their chances in the 11th with a sacrafice fly, bringing the 'Birds within one run which is where they ultimately ended. Saturday was the ultimate definition of "it's not over until it's over," and this might have been Aberdeen's highlight of the season. Down 10-3 in the top of the 9th inning, the Ironbirds batted around and put an 8-spot on the Grasshoppers. The effort was capped of with a massive game-winning grand slam by Retzbach that would end up sealing the deal for Aberdeen in their comebac 11-10 victory. Talk about never give up! Just when things seemed dim, the Ironbirds fought back and taught Greensboro to play it out until it's over. The Ironbirds remain unswept this season, and this will go down as one of the great moments in franchise history.


Aberdeen is 8-7 in the second half, good enough for third place in the South Atlantic League North. HEre are three standout performers from last week for Aberdeen.


  • C Adam Retzbach: I don't care that he only had two hits last week. That game-winning grand slam was coming up clutch at its finest and because of that, Retzbach deserves to be recognized as a Learning To Fly Player of the Week.

  • OF Tavian Josenberger: the 2023 third rounder went 5-for-17 (.294) last week and homered in each of the final two games that he played in last week. He collected 3 RBI, scored 3 runs, and stole 3 bases.

  • RHP Zane Barnhart: the 22-year-old came up clutch out of the Ironbirds bullpen last week. He appeared in 2 games, allowing just one earned run while walking only one batter and collecting the save on Saturday.


The Ironbirds are on the road this week as they take on the Ashville Tourists (Astros A+) for a 6-game set starting tonight.


A- Delmarva Shorebirds

The rookie ball version of Battle of the Beltways did not go Delmarva's way. After winning the previous series against the Down East Wood Ducks (Rangers A-) 4-2, they were swept by the Fredericksburg Nationals (Nationals A-).


Trey Gibson did not allow a hit against the FredNats on Saturday. Photo: Hannah Reagle

The series was defined by the FredNats' ability to hit the ball and the Shorebirds' lack of offensive production. The FredNats went 20-for-62 (.321) with runners in scoring position, and several of their young hitters hit Delmarva pitching well including Everett Cooper III, who went 8-for-18 (.444) against the Shorebirds. Delmarva, on the other hand, were one-hit in the first two games of the series while also committing 4 errors in those two games combined. In the entire sereis, they struck out 61 times including 39 in the first half of the series. They did not give themselves many opportunities to score but when they had runners in scoring position, they only went 7-for-33 (.212). It was a disappoint effort from the offense that had begun to find its stride especially in June. Their collectively sound offense was a big reason why they went 14-12 in June. Now, they sit 0-6 to start the new month. On the positive side, shoutout to a few really good pitching performances last week including Juan Rojas, who tossed 4 innings of 2-run ball on Friday with 6 K's, and Trey Gibson, who tossed 4 scoreless innings without giving up a hit on Saturday.


Delmarva drops to last place in the northern division of the Carolina League with a 6-9 record. They are 29-51 overall. Here are three standout performers from last week's series at the FredNats.


  • RHP Trey Gibson: the 22-year-old had two starts last week, but his start on Saturday was his better effort. He went 4 scoreless innings with 6 strikeouts, and the FredNats failed to record a hit against him.

  • IF Aron Estrada: the June Carolina League Player of the Month continues to impress as he finishes last week going 8-for-22 (.364) with a home run, 3 RBI, 2 runs scored, and 2 stolen bases.

  • RHP Blake Money: Money helped quiet the FredNats offense on Tuesday with 4 scoreless relief innings. Only needing 57 pitches (37 strikes), he allowed just one hit and struck out 5 while walking none.


Delmarva is on the road this week as they begin a 6-game set tonight at the Lynchburg Hillcats (Guardians A-). Delmarva won the last series against the Hillcats 4-2.





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