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Orioles' Zach Britton not named as a Cy Young award finalist

Orioles' Zach Britton not named as a Cy Young award finalist

Orioles reliever Zach Britton had a sensational 2016 campaign.

The 28-year-old LHP finished a perfect 47-for-47 in save situations and ended the season with a 0.54 ERA in 57 innings of work. Britton's 2016 season was one of the best in the history of relief pitching.

But when the Baseball Writers Association of America unveiled its ballot for the 2016 A.L. Cy Young award, Britton's name was nowhere to be found. Instead, the BBWAA tabbed three starting pitchers: Cleveland's Corey Kluber, Boston's Rick Porcello and Detroit's Justin Verlander as the top three finalists.

Manager Buck Showalter was one of the many dumbfounded by the decision. “It’s shocking,” Showalter said, via MASN's Roch Kubatko. “That’s a real poor reflection on the people who are evaluating him. God bless the three guys in front of him. They were doing it every fifth day and he’s doing it every day. I’m not so sure any of those guys could do what Zach does." 

“This guy had maybe the best year in the history of relief pitching. He should have finished in the top three in MVP, OK? He should. There’s nobody in baseball who’s more valuable to their team than Zach Britton is to the Orioles."

Showalter himself is up for the A.L. Manager of the Year award, but Britton not being tabbed as one of the three finalists is the biggest news from the unveiling of the finalists.

Relievers are often left out off Cy Young award ballots because voters do not believe specialists, specifically one-inning specialists, to not play a big enough role in the entire 162-gamer season, in the same fashion as pitchers often being left off of MVP award ballots.

The last A.L. reliever to win the Cy Young award was Oakland's Dennis Eckersley, who saved 51 games in 1992, not only winning the Cy Young award, but the A.L. MVP award as well. Dodgers' closer Eric Gagne was the last ninth-inning specialist to win the award regardless of league, doing so in 2003. 

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Orioles nearing MLB record as pitching continues to give up runs

Orioles nearing MLB record as pitching continues to give up runs

BALTIMORE -- The Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles can smash the ball. Both teams play sound defense, and each has a veteran manager in the dugout.

So, when it comes down to explaining why the Indians lead the AL Central and the Orioles are sinking toward the bottom of the AL East, only one word is necessary: pitching.

Carlos Carrasco struck out 10 , Francisco Lindor homered and the Indians defeated the skidding Orioles 5-1 Wednesday night for their seventh win in eight games.

Carrasco (8-3) allowed seven hits and walked none over six-plus innings to win his third straight start. The right-hander struck out every Baltimore starter except Trey Mancini to reach double figures for the 11th time in his career.

Cleveland held a 3-0 lead when Carrasco yielded three straight singles to open the seventh. Andrew Miller entered and got a force at the plate before striking out Caleb Joseph and Ruben Tejada.

"That's the ballgame," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's pretty impressive. For them to get nothing? That certainly carried the heavy lifting."

Miller said his goal was simply to "just limit the damage."

If only it was that easy for Baltimore. Not only did the Orioles lose for the 10th time in 14 games, but they have allowed at least five runs in 18 consecutive games -- two short of the major league record set by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies.

Once the Indians took control with a three-run fifth, Baltimore was all but finished.

"There wasn't much margin for error with Carrasco. He's having another good year," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I think that's what a lot of people miss about them is, as good of an offensive club and a defensive club as they are, their pitching was good last year and will be again this year."

Dan Otero gave up an RBI double to Jonathan Schoop in the ninth, ending Cleveland's bid for its major league-leading ninth shutout. After Baltimore put runners on the corners with two outs, Bryan Shaw retired Tejada for his second save .

Kevin Gausman (3-7) gave up three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts for the Orioles.

Gausman was cruising until the fifth, when the Indians peeled off four straight hits to go up 3-0. After Roberto Perez doubled in a run, Lindor followed with a two-run homer.

"It's kind of the way things have gone, really, throughout the whole season so far for me," Gausman said. "Pitching well and it kind of gets away from me."

Cleveland added two runs in the ninth against Miguel Castro.

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Manny Machado hits 2 bombs in Orioles 6-5 win over Indians

Manny Machado hits 2 bombs in Orioles 6-5 win over Indians

Another poor outing by their starting pitcher left the Baltimore Orioles facing an early three-run deficit and the prospect of another lopsided loss.

Then Manny Machado took over.

Machado went 4 for 4, homered twice and drove in four runs to help the Orioles beat Cleveland 6-5 on Tuesday night and end the Indians' six-game winning streak.

After absorbing a 12-0 defeat one night earlier, Baltimore fell behind 5-2 before rallying to win for only the fourth time in 13 games.

"Coming back from the game we had (Monday) night -- they really took it to us -- it was good to come out ahead against a real good team," manager Buck Showalter said.

Machado hit a solo homer in the first inning and tied it with a three-run drive in the fifth. Then, in the seventh, Machado doubled off Bryan Shaw (1-2) and scored on a double by Adam Jones.

Machado's first four-hit game since last August lifted his batting average 13 points to .227.

"Just happy I was able to do something for us today," Machado said. "We played great baseball. That's what we've got to keep doing, picking each other up."

Miguel Castro (1-0) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to earn his first big league victory.

Brad Brach pitched the ninth for his 13th save, retiring Yan Gomes on a deep fly ball with runners on the corners and two outs.

Orioles starter Chris Tillman allowed five runs and eight hits in four-plus innings, but Baltimore's comeback enabled him to avoid losing a sixth straight start.

Asked to sum up his outing, Tillman uttered three words: "Not very good."

The Orioles allowed at least five runs in a 17th consecutive game. That's the longest run in AL history and just three short of the dubious major league record of 20 set by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies.

Juan Encarnacion homered for the Indians, whose season-high winning streak thrust the team into first place in the AL Central.

"Nobody wants to lose, but I don't think this loss will affect tomorrow," manager Terry Francona said.

Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin yielded a season-high three homers in 4 2/3 innings. The one pitch he lamented most was the cutter he threw to Machado with two on in the fifth.

"I didn't execute a pitch and it changed the game," he said.

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