After strong finish, Drew Dosch gets off to fast start (plus O’s notes)

Since opening day, Triple-A Norfolk has placed two third basemen on the disabled list. First, Chris Johnson suffered a right forearm injury and then Alex Castellanos went on the disabled list yesterday with a left hamstring injury.

This all opened the door for third sacker Drew Dosch to get promoted to Triple-A for the first time yesterday. After a strong second half at Double-A Bowie last season, followed by a good start to this year, Dosch may prove to be ready for this chance.

Drew-Dosch-Bowie-Sidebar.jpgLast season at Bowie, the 24-year-old lefty swinger, hit .261/.306/.412 with nine homers and 55 RBIs. Somewhat modest stats for the season. But it was in the second half when his bat really took off. He hit .306/.364/.514 in 183 at-bats for the Baysox.

In his first nine games this season at Bowie, he was batting .424/.513/.576 (14-for-33) with three doubles, a triple and nine RBIs.

What took off for Dosch last season after the break seems to have carried into this year.

“I just kind of settled into getting back into what I try to do,” he said. “Going into last year, I tried to put up more power numbers, and I think I kind of had some breakdowns in my swing because of it. Trying to generate power rather than doing the things I do well and letting the power come.

“I kind of settled back down into doing what I can do well. Plus taking some changes we’ve made and putting them into my game. That really allowed me to do well at the plate,” Dosch said.

Dosch was drafted in the seventh round in 2013 out of Youngstown State. He made the South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star team in 2014, and the Carolina League team in 2015.

Then he put up some of his best numbers as a pro as the summer went on for the 2016 Baysox.

“We did some tinkering going into the year,” he said. “Some of the things, once you get into games and the ball is coming at you at 95 (mph), it’s a little different than the batting cage. But I found some common ground between some of the things we did do and tinker with and what was most comfortable for me. Once those two came together and met in a comfortable place for me, I was able to take off.

“The way I finished last year on a high note and coming into this year, I feel like I’m in a great place with my swing,” said Dosch, who went 1-for-4 with a single and walk in his Triple-A debut last night.

But Dosch is a third baseman. The Orioles currently have a pretty good one in Baltimore. Dosch can’t let that stop him from continuing to get better and giving himself his best shot at the big leagues.

“Obviously, we have about the best third baseman in the big leagues. That raises the bar for me. Look at what Manny (Machado) is doing. But I can’t worry about that, and just have to play my game and hope at the end of the day that is enough,” he said.

As his bat has gotten better, Dosch believes his fielding has as well.

“I’ve made some really good changes since the beginning of my career, working with (minor league infield coordinator) Dave Anderson and Kevin Bradshaw (manager at short-season, Single A Aberdeen). They’ve helped me improve my footwork, and that made my arm play a lot better. It just helped in getting my feet and body in a better position in both fielding the ball and getting a quicker release to throw.”

This is Dosch’s fourth year on the O’s farm. He said he has loved working with the organization’s minor league managers, coaches and instructors.

“They’ve been great to me. They’ve given me every resource to be successful, both on the hitting side and defensively. They’ve taken the time to work with me on everything. I’m very grateful for that,” he said.

Meanwhile, The Orioles came up with their first shutout of the season last night in a win over Cincinnati. The Reds scored nine runs in the first three innings in their win on Tuesday night. Last night the Reds were held to two hits by Ubaldo Jiménez, Donnie Hart and Brad Brach as the Orioles won 2-0. Jimenez went 7 2/3 and improved to 1-0 with an ERA of 5.51.

More notes on the Orioles:

* Jiménez has been the starter for the last two Orioles shutouts, which took place last Sept. 29 at Toronto and last night.

* O’s starting pitchers have recorded five quality starts over the last six games. The starters’ ERA in those five games is 1.41, with five runs allowed over 32 innings.

* One night after the Orioles got their shortest start of the year (Kevin Gausman, 2 2/3 innings), the club got its longest start of 2017, with Jiménez pitching into the eighth. He lowered his ERA from 10.38 to 5.51. The O’s team ERA dropped from 4.29 to 3.96.

* The two-hitter was easily the club’s low-hit game of the year. Previously, the fewest hits allowed in a game was six, on two occassions.

* O’s starters have recorded scoreless outings in two of the last three games, with Dylan Bundy doing that Sunday at Toronto and Jiménez against the Reds.

* The Orioles improved to 9-4 on the year, 5-3 on the road, 1-1 in this series and to 6-2 in night games.

* The Orioles have not lost a series this year, going 3-0-1, and they can keep that stat intact if they win the deciding game in this series tonight.

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