While sifting through the highs and lows of Sunday afternoon’s 7-3 loss to the Red Sox, Orioles manager Buck Showalter pointed out how five walks extended pitch counts and raised the degree of difficulty against a team that’s never in a rush to leave the batter’s box.
The Orioles, in case no one has noticed, tend to be a little more aggressive at the plate. They’ll find out tonight how it plays against a pitcher who’s averaging 0.7 walks per nine innings.
Pirates right-hander Ivan Nova has a 2.92 ERA, nine quality starts, two complete games and one shutout in 11 outings. He’s walked only six batters in 77 innings and hasn’t surrendered more than four runs in any start.
Nova’s reached 100 pitches only twice in those 11 starts, topping out at 104. Life is a tad easier without the full counts.
Nova is 8-4 with a 5.01 ERA and 1.330 WHIP in 17 career games (16 starts) against the Orioles and 3-1 with a 5.44 ERA and 1.479 WHIP in eight games (seven starts ) at Camden Yards.
Mark Trumbo is 10-for-21 (.476) with a double and three home runs, Jonathan Schoop is 4-for-10 with a double and home run, Chris Davis is 9-for-32 (.281) with two doubles, three home runs, 10 RBIs and 12 strikeouts, and J.J. Hardy is 11-for-39 (.282) with two doubles and a home run.
Schoop leads the Orioles with 17 doubles, which tied him for fifth in the majors before last night. He’s drawn 11 walks, only 10 fewer than his 2016 total.
The Orioles took three of four games from the Pirates in 2014, including a doubleheader sweep in Baltimore. Davis registered his first three-homer game on May 20 in Pittsburgh, and the first by an Oriole since Nick Markakis in 2006.
Kevin Gausman has never faced the Pirates. His experience against the current group is limited to John Jaso, who’s 4-for-11 with a double and triple, and David Freese, who’s 0-for-2 with a walk.
Gausman is carrying a 5.92 ERA and 1.837 WHIP in 12 starts spread over 59 1/3 innings, but he’s allowed two runs in four of his last five outings.
The latest edition of Orioles Magazine includes an article on Trey Mancini. I suggest that you check the byline, too.
Not long ago, I shared some comments on Mancini from his former hitting instructor, Blake Doyle. Here’s a little extra:
“Trey was a young man, this was right at 12 years old, that came to our baseball school and then afterward we started lessons,” said Doyle, the former Rockies hitting coach. “He had a passion for working, even at a young age. When I work with youngsters, it’s great when parents want to allow their sons to get the best that they can get. However, the key was when I asked him if he wanted to do it, he was very excited. A lot of times parents get more excited than the kids. Not the case with Trey.
“And then you look up and we start asking questions about his academics and the total person. He was an outstanding student and also had the discipline in the classroom like he did in his athletics. So, he had a great start as far as propensity for success.”
Doyle won’t profess to knowing that Mancini would play in the majors.
“I knew when he got around 13 years old that his hand-eye coordination was extremely good and that I had the potential of an athlete,” Doyle said. “If I could tell at a young age like that that he had the potential to play in the big leagues, that’s crazy. You can’t do that. However, at a young age I knew he was going to play college ball.
“I’ve seen too many kids over the course of years in our business. My last 3 ½ years have been with the Rockies. In 2014 to 2016 I was the major league hitting coach, so I’d be able to watch. To be able to get back into the big leagues and see bat speed and approaches at the plate again, and to help with that again, it was obvious at an early age, even when he was in college, about his sophomore year, you saw the bat speed. And the bat speed and the hitting reminded me a whole lot of Dale Murphy. And that’s kind of what you’re seeing.”
Mancini majored in political science at Notre Dame. Just don’t try to get into any deep discussions with him on the subject.
“It was more of a process of elimination,” said Mancini, who went back to school and got his degree in 2015. “I’m not going to lie. I started in business because Notre Dame has a really good business school. And then I just was not interested. I like history and I was kind of into politics at the time, so I just kind of on a whim my sophomore year changed to political science. And I did like it a lot better. But I don’t have a passion for politics to say the least.
“I’m definitely not a guy to come to and ask what’s going on right now. I don’t mind. I know I need to be semi ... and I’m decently educated in it, but I’m not an expert by any means. It was more a process of elimination in that regard.”