With about six weeks to go in the minor league regular season, five of the seven Orioles minor league teams are either leading for a playoff berth or are within four games of one.
Double-A Bowie (53-47) is leading its division in the Eastern League by one game over Erie, two games over Altoona and 2 1/2 over Akron. The top two teams will make the playoffs.
Single-A Delmarva (17-12) is leading its division in the South Atlantic League by 1 1/2 games. They play two halves in that league. Single-A Frederick (14-14) is four games out of first in the second half race in its division of the Carolina League. Short-season Single-A Aberdeen (18-14) is 1 1/2 games out of the wild card spot in the New York-Penn League. The Gulf Coast League Orioles (12-12) are three games back.
Bowie outfielder Austin Hays fouled a ball off his face Sunday and needed 10 stitches above his left eye, but fortunately the injury was not as serious compared to what happened with Houston’s Colin Moran in a similar situation Saturday night at Camden Yards. Hays is expected to miss three games but will not go on the disabled list. He is batting .319 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 28 games since his promotion to the Baysox.
Delmarva pitcher Alexander Wells extended his consecutive scoreless-innings streak to 30 on Sunday when he gave up only an infield hit in six innings in the Shorebirds’ 8-0 win at Rome. Wells is 9-4 with a 2.42 ERA that ranks second best in the league. Wells, whose fastball sits between 87 and 91 mph, also throws a curve and changeup. He has exceptional control with just 10 walks to 84 strikeouts over 108 innings. The 20-year-old Wells was signed for $300,000 out of Newcastle, Australia in August 2015. He has 14 quality starts, including nine over his past 10 games.
Delmarva, which outhit Rome 19-4 on Sunday, has won a season-high six straight games. In Sunday’s win, outfielder Jake Ring went 5-for-6 with a double, homer, three runs and three RBIs. He’s batting .290. Outfielder Ryan McKenna went 4-for-4.
Frederick swept a doubleheader from Wilmington on Sunday, winning both games by scoring in its final at-bat. The Keys have won a season-high seven in a row. In the game two win, lefty Brian Gonzalez allowed one run over six innings.
The Orioles’ 2016 top draft pick, right-hander Cody Sedlock, came off the DL to start game one. Out since June 26 with a right elbow flexor strain, Sedlock went 1 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and two runs. He is 4-4 with a 6.58 ERA through 14 starts.
In Aberdeen’s 10-7 win over Brooklyn, catcher Ben Breazeale went 3-for-6 with four RBIs. He is batting .427 to rank first in the league. Ryan Ripken is batting .315 to rank fourth in the league. Ripken went 3-for-6 Sunday and is batting .355 in 17 games this month. A lefty batter, Ripken has hit .458 (11-for-24) versus lefty pitching.
Right-hander Gabriel Ynoa has struggled this year at Norfolk. But he pitched 5 1/3 scoreless on seven hits in the Tides’ 3-0 win Sunday. Over his past two starts, Ynoa has allowed one run over 10 1/3 innings to lower his ERA from 7.64 to 6.54.
On Sunday, the Tides completed a four-game sweep in Pawtucket for the first time since 1995. Since the All-Star break, Norfolk has gone 7-4, posting a 3.12 ERA. During that sweep, Norfolk’s starting pitchers went 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA. Catcher Chance Sisco has hit safely in eight of 10 games in July, batting .359 (14-for-39) with four doubles and eight RBIs.
Right-hander Matt Wotherspoon appeared in six games this season with Scranton before he was acquired by Baltimore in a trade on July 2 for international signing bonus slot money. Since joining the Tides, Wotherspoon has posted a 1.74 ERA, while holding opponents to a .162 batting average over 10 1/3 innings with five walks and 16 strikeouts.