Home hasn't been sweet for Orioles; Missing a no-hitter; Thomas Boswell's retirement - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Home hasn’t been sweet for Orioles; Missing a no-hitter; Thomas Boswell’s retirement

John Means no-hitter
Photo credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

After their disappointing two games at Citi Field, the Orioles return home for a three-game weekend series with the New York Yankees. The Orioles have the worst home record in Major League Baseball, 5-13. Even after their two losses to the Mets, they’re still a respectable 11-8 away from home.

“I just think it’s really early in the year,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “ We just haven’t played very well at home, the series that we’ve had there.”

The Orioles haven’t won any of their five home series, losing two to Boston, and one to Oakland and Seattle while splitting a four-game series with New York.  They’ve played each of those teams on the road in addition to the Mets, Miami Marlins and Texas Rangers.

Yes, it’s still early in the season, but they’ve played nearly one-quarter of their home schedule and comparisons with some low points in Orioles history aren’t favorable.

In 2018, when the team lost a franchise-record 115 games, they won their fifth home series, beating Detroit in two of three games. They were 5-10 in their first 15 games on their way to a 28-53 record at home.

The 1988 Orioles made history by losing their first 21 games. Only eight of the 21 were at home, but in their fifth home series, they pulled off a win, though it comes with an asterisk. They beat the Minnesota Twins in a one-game series marred by rain.

Three years later, in their final season at Memorial Stadium, it took the Orioles eight series before they won one. On May 27-29, 1991 the Orioles won two of three from Cleveland.

The Orioles have played good teams at home. Entering Wednesday’s games, each of their home opponents had a .500 record or better, and six of the 14 home losses came against the Red Sox, who they don’t play at home until the final week of the season in September.

Interestingly, the Orioles began the season with a three-game sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

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They have yet to play an American League Central team and won’t until May 24th when they visit the Minnesota Twins.

No-hitter mania: For many, if not most, Oriole fans, last week’s masterpiece by John Means was the only no-hitter they’ve experienced.

Not counting the four-pitcher no-hitter in Oakland in 1991, Means’ no-hitter was the first for the Orioles since August 13, 1969 when Jim Palmer threw one.

I watched it on television, as everyone else did, and after I finished writing about it, I wondered if I’d ever cover a no-hitter.

In the 41 years I’ve lived in Baltimore, the Orioles have been involved in seven no-hitters — the combined one in 1991 and Means’ while being no-hit five times: Milwaukee’s Juan Nieves (April 15, 1987), Chicago’s Wilson Alvarez (August 11, 1991), Boston’s Hideo Nomo (April 4, 2001), Boston’s Clay Buchholz (September 1, 1987), and Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma (August 12, 2015).

I saw none of them. Nomo’s was the only no-hitter ever pitched at Oriole Park.

As a fan, I saw the New York Yankees’ Dave Righetti no-hit the Boston Red Sox on July 4, 1983.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to cover a number of milestones far rarer than a no-hitter: Adrian Beltre’s 3,000th hit, Manny Ramirez’s 500th home run, Randy Johnson’s 300th win, and Josh Hamilton’s four-home run game. As a fan, I also saw the first game of Cal Ripken Jr.’s streak, the games he tied and broke the streak, and the streak’s end.

I knew Means wasn’t going to pitch a second straight no-hitter on Tuesday night in New York, but I still enjoyed the possibility. The Mets’ Jeff McNeil singled on Means’ fourth pitch.

Many people I know refuse to turn off a game on television in the early innings until there’s a hit. I’m one of them. I still hope to get to cover one. Means will start Sunday against the Yankees.

Boswell’s influence: Longtime Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell announced last week that he’s ending his 52-year run at the paper.

In recent years, Boswell has specialized in writing on baseball after years as a beat writer on the Orioles for The Post and as a general sports columnist.

At 74, Boswell will stop writing at the end of next month, and he’ll be missed. He’s published several collections of his baseball columns, and his work from the early 1980s, when he offered insights on Jim Palmer and Earl Weaver, were classics. He also was an early devotee of sabermetrics but didn’t lose his readers in them.

Unfortunately, Washington didn’t have a baseball team for most of Boswell’s time with the Post, and he followed the Orioles closely until the Nationals came to town in 2005.

There probably isn’t another columnist who covered a sport in which his city didn’t have a team as aggressively as Boswell, and Nationals fans enjoyed his in-depth coverage of their team in recent years.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. 33d St

    May 13, 2021 at 8:13 am

    I saw the Nieves one on TV. If I recall rightly, Robin Yount made 1, maybe 2 diving catches in CF which I think he was new to at the time. I could be remembering that all wrong but I saw that one on TV. I was at Memorial for the Wilson Alvarez game. Very happy I at least caught the last two innings of Means’ gem on radio – I had forgotten it was a day game till well into the afternoon.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 13, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Rich, I take issue with one statement you made today. As an Oriole fan living in NoVa for the past 40 years and the vast majority of Boswell’s Washington Post career … I found it quite fortunate that the District didn’t have a baseball team.

    Tom Boswell was one of the best baseball writers to have ever covered the Orioles, or any team for that matter. He was an encyclopedia.

  3. Orioles20

    May 13, 2021 at 9:06 am

    To this day I still blame Buck for having use get no hit by iwakuma. Why would you put David Lough and Ryan Flaherty in the lineup together. I saw yesterday Chris Tillman is attempting a comeback. I am glad we don’t have to worry about signing him. You know Duquette and Showalter would’ve signed him in the blink of an eye.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      May 13, 2021 at 9:11 am

      I forgot about that. MLB let flaherty and lough alternate at bats 27 times in a row. The 2 batters were the only ones who took at bats that game. It was unprecedented and hasn’t been repeated since.

      • Pure_Positive_PJs

        May 13, 2021 at 2:15 pm

        Dang, that’s good stuff there BSS!

    • jimcarter

      May 13, 2021 at 12:02 pm

      Buck had his boys. They were always from the same mold and, in fact, even looked similar in some cases. They were short on talent and long on remaining on the roster. Aside from Lough and Flaherty, there was Joey Rickard. Had Buck not been canned, Wilkerson would have made his list.

    • Massmonster

      May 13, 2021 at 5:12 pm

      can’t complain about Buck after more than a decade as cellar dwellers the Orioles won more games than ANY team in Baseball. 2014-2017. I call that astonishing

    • Icterus fan

      May 13, 2021 at 5:28 pm

      Iwakuma? How ‘bout Ubaldo rather than Britton?

      I like our guys

  4. The Cartoon Bird

    May 13, 2021 at 9:07 am

    I respected, in later years, Tom Boswell’s willingness to ask hard questions about the future of the Orioles as a franchise. For example, he was the only writer, in a recent WaPo column, to ask aloud, are the cuts at MASN a precursor to its eventual sale? Are the Orioles having financial difficulties? Is the austerity payroll another signal that it’s not a matter of if, but when, the team is sold? I concede that Tom Boswell didn’t agree with the Orioles actions in their impact on the Nationals. But he asked the tough questions, as an outsider, that insiders are unwilling, or unable, to ask. In that sense, I respect him for that.

    • Birdman

      May 13, 2021 at 10:14 am

      I agree that the financial stability of the franchise, which Boswell discussed, is the big overarching, and unanswered, question about the future of the Orioles. As you note, the drastic cuts in recent years, from the broadcasting operation, to the coaching staff, to player payroll (now 29th or 30th in MLB), suggest some serious financial difficulties.

      Orioles fans have been led to believe that, once the team develops a competitive young nucleus, ownership will then be prepared to significantly step up spending to reach the next (playoff) level. So we should find out the real story, one way or the other, pretty soon.

  5. Jack

    May 13, 2021 at 10:19 am

    I subscribed to the Post when he covered the Orioles. I read in his most recent discussion that he won’t talk about them now until the MASN battle is resolved.

    • CalsPals

      May 13, 2021 at 10:22 am

      I thought it was supposedly resolved…go O’s…

  6. willmiranda

    May 13, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Given the O’s lack of success at their home park, are there any indications that their stable of prospects have been recruited or obtained with an eye toward being optimized for the ball park? Or is there any type or types of players suited for OPACY, aside from Yankees who hit home runs?

    • Pure_Positive_PJs

      May 13, 2021 at 5:12 pm

      Aside from home run hitters and pitchers excelling in strike outs and ground balls, not sure there are types best suited for OPACY. Lack of success at home is a recent occurrence, as recently as 2018 the O’s had a higher winning % at home and in 2019 they lost 4 more games at home than on the road. This season the Orioles have a better OPS at home 0.690 vs away 0.638, however ERA at home is 4.93 vs 3.34 on the road, 30 HRs allowed at home vs 17 allowed on the road.

      We need the strike out and ground ball experts on the mound daggummit!

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 13, 2021 at 7:24 pm

        An example of player that is less suited for OPACY would be Ramon Urias. I understand that his OPS has been found wanting.

  7. Icterus fan

    May 13, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    In a series of fairly recent taped interviews covering a wide variety of subjects, John Angelos made lots of promises to the effect that the Baltimore Orioles will remain in Baltimore as the Orioles. While no one can know the final analysis, he seemed sincere.
    Time and money will tell.

    I like our guys

    • Shamus

      May 13, 2021 at 2:28 pm

      I’ve heard that before from another owner…..remember this.. money talks and BS walks… Enjoy em while we got em

  8. CalsPals

    May 13, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    Not only does Seattle bring up Kelenic, they also bring up their top pitching prospect…go O’s…

    • Pure_Positive_PJs

      May 13, 2021 at 4:48 pm

      Wow! Sounds like you are becoming a Mariner’s fan. Off with you, go to lookoutlanding dot com, go on now…close with “…go M’s…” at the new place. You will be missed!

    • Icterus fan

      May 13, 2021 at 5:34 pm

      Ouch

    • CalsPals

      May 13, 2021 at 6:03 pm

      Considering the source Icterus, working from his parents basement so I’ve heard…go O’s…

      • WorldlyView

        May 13, 2021 at 6:11 pm

        CP: IMHO, you should not stoop to his level. Trolls thrive on attention, be it positive or negative.

    • CalsPals

      May 13, 2021 at 6:20 pm

      WV, appreciate the advice, gonna take it…go O’s…

  9. WorldlyView

    May 13, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    Boswell has been a superb commentator on many sports, not just baseball. He’s been a joy to read–tremendous insights and beautiful writing. I hope his retirement is not total. IMHO, he should write the occasional column at his own pace.

  10. dlgruber1

    May 13, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Rich, I see after the games you’re usually one of the first ones, after Roch of course, called on to ask questions so naturally I’m assuming you have some cred with the O’s. So I’m wondering if you could use some of that and do me a favor. I’m going to the Bowie game on May 30th and I’d really like to see Rutschman play even tho it’ll be a day game after a night game (I’m assuming Saturday’s are night games) and I’d prefer to see Hall pitch. If Hall can’t pitch could you ask them to call up Rodriguez? That would be just as good. Lastly, I’m hoping they might call up Gunnar Henderson as well. He looks like the real deal. His opposite field HR the other night was amazing. Anyway, I appreciate whatever you can do for me. Thanks.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 13, 2021 at 5:02 pm

      Dave, I’m glad someone thinks I have credibility! When I was eight, my dad took us to a Giants-Mets afternoon game, and Willie Mays didn’t get to play because it was a day game following a night game. It was one of only five games he missed that year.

      Over the next several years, you’ll get to see Hall, Henderson, Rodtiguez and Rutschman, though it may not be on May 30.

  11. PC in OC

    May 13, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    I’m now talking to the Peanut Gallery. You all have short memories. You forgot what Buck did for the Orioles and for Baltimore. Toward the end, He did what he did, with what he had!!!

    • CalsPals

      May 13, 2021 at 6:05 pm

      I’m all on board about Buck, one of my favorites, didn’t end well…maybe Buck Britton will be charge of the O’s at some time…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 13, 2021 at 6:57 pm

      Buck Showalter was top shelf my friend. We all don’t have short memories.

      Remember to Drink Pepsi boys

      • Tileman

        May 14, 2021 at 8:38 am

        Buck was top shelf as he restored belief in our players that they could compete. I was there his first night behind the dugout as he managed our team. There was a few of us in attendance that night, the big inning of a nice run.

  12. Pure_Positive_PJs

    May 13, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    Everyone’s favorite DLJ (doleful lumber jack) BC (Brett Cumberland) is looking good for the Tides. I am predicting BC plays for the O’s before AR…

    • dlgruber1

      May 13, 2021 at 8:42 pm

      Considering who is playing for the O’s right now that is not a ringing endorsement. But still it’s a rather bold statement being that he’d have to leapfrog the mighty Austin Wynns to get there.

  13. dlgruber1

    May 13, 2021 at 8:50 pm

    Throwing a question out there for Rich or any of the readers who follow minors closely as honestly I never really have until now. How long does someway stay at a certain level before the club moves them up? I ask this because Henderson is tearing up Low A ball now. My next question is will he automatically go to High A or is there a possibility he goes straight to AA?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 13, 2021 at 9:37 pm

      This current management team moves players along as slowly as any in the game. I’d be shocked if he were to skip high A ball.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 13, 2021 at 10:01 pm

      Dave, the minor league season is only 10 days old. I would say if Henderson is tearing it up at the beginning of July, he could go to Aberdeen. I would doubt that he skips a level now.

    • dlgruber1

      May 14, 2021 at 12:51 am

      Thanks guys, as I said I’ve never followed minors closely until recently and of course there was no minor league season last year. I go to some Senators games to beautiful City Island but that’s about it. I’ve been interested in Henderson ever since I heard how great he did at the alternate site in Bowie last year fir such a young kid. He already has 3 HRs, 11 RBIs, hitting over .300 and OPS over 1.000. In just thinking maybe had one of those rare players who can move very quickly to the bigs. He won’t be 20 until summer. I know, I know, they don’t wanna start his clock too soon.

  14. Bhoffman1

    May 13, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    There is a pickup guy Pat Dorrian who plays second and third hitting well at Bowie only 24

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