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Jul 8, 2024 1:58 pm

Feeling snubbed by ASG, Orioles take aim at Cubs

Gunnar Henderson

The Baltimore Orioles are back home after a West Coast trip that went pretty well, but they might be in a bit of a surly mood anyway.

When a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs begins Tuesday night, the Orioles are likely still to be miffed that they’ll only have three representatives in next week’s All-Star Game.

The six-game homestand will provide the Orioles with a chance to pay tribute to All-Star Game selections Gunnar Henderson, Adley Rutschman and Corbin Burnes. The players and staff, however, believe they are deserving of more, especially closer Craig Kimbrel and infielder Jordan Westburg.

“The guys, they’ve had some really awesome first halves,” Henderson said. “Kind of disappointed (we) didn’t get to see more of them in there. I really don’t know what else to say.”

So that’s bound to be a topic for the next few days.

“I think we should have had more than three All-Stars, for sure,” pitcher Grayson Rodriguez said. “There’s a lot of guys in that clubhouse that are deserving to be there.”

The Orioles will see another All-Star right away. That’s Cubs left-hander Shota Imanaga (7-2, 3.16 ERA), who’s lined up to go to the mound for the series opener two days after his selection to the midsummer classic. The 30-year-old rookie hasn’t posted a victory since June 15, but he struck out eight Philadelphia batters in six innings Wednesday.

“He’s a rookie in this league and a rookie just being here as a Major League Baseball player in Chicago,” Cubs manager Craig Counsell said. “How he has handled that part of it with everything new that gets thrown out at you, with everything that is different, has been the best part.”

The Cubs have won three of their past four games as they embark on a seven-game road trip across six days prior to the All-Star break. This matches Chicago’s best stretch since April.

“That’s what we needed to start doing — we need to win series,” Counsell said. “That’s kind of the goal you put in front of yourself every three days, every four days. We won a series and we’re going to play a really good baseball team now in Baltimore. It will be a challenge, but that’s kind of the mindset we have to put ourselves in.”

The Orioles are back from a 4-2 road trip to Seattle and Oakland. They’ve won their past three series overall.

Part of Baltimore’s boost has come from outfielder Heston Kjerstad, who’s batting .407 with three home runs in 10 games since he was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk.

“He has got that power potential and he’s taking good at-bats,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s popping one every once in a while and getting some big hits for us.”

Right-hander Dean Kremer (4-4, 3.93 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for Baltimore for just his second appearance with the big-league team since May. He has something to build on after blanking Seattle across five innings Wednesday, striking out eight batters.

This will be Kremer’s first outing at Camden Yards since surrendering six runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings against Arizona on May 12. In parts of five seasons in the majors, Kremer’s lone outing against the Cubs resulted in a 2023 victory when he worked five innings and gave up three runs (one earned).

–Field Level Media

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