Captain Obvious has been busy this season, giving me a steady stream of calls and notes. The latest was to remind me that the Orioles may be an improved team but are not yet at the point they can be missing several key players and still consistently win.
The Captain is right again.
The Orioles were without Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays in Detroit and Jorge Mateo left yesterday’s game in the fourth inning. They lost 5-1 and scored just three runs over the weekend. They scored in just two of 27 innings. That will not cut it.
The offense with Hays and Mountcastle was trending up, scoring 33 runs over a six-game stretch. But they have followed that by scoring seven runs over the past five games.
The Captain said that means the offense has been inconsistent.
The Orioles will be without Mountcastle at least through Friday. He could return Saturday if he comes off the injured list on the first day possible. Hays had his left hand stepped on and is waiting for sutures to heal. He should return – knock on wood – during the Yankees series that begins tonight. Manager Brandon Hyde said after Sunday’s game that X-rays were negative on Mateo but he suffered a left shoulder and chest contusion after colliding with Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson.
The next few weeks will provide a real test for the Orioles. They were 14-18 after winning that series in St. Louis. At that point they were on a 71-win pace. That would by a 19-win improvement from 2021.
But now they are trending in the wrong direction just in time to face the team with the best record in the majors. The Yankees just won three of four on the road, most recently over the Chicago White Sox.
The Yankees have won six of seven and 18 of the last 21 games. They are 20-4 the past 24 games. The Yankees win percentage of .735, were they to maintain that through 162 games, would produce 119 wins.
The Yankees have won at least 25 of their first 34 games for just the third time in the last 64 seasons. They also were 25-9 in 1958 and 2003 and were 26-8 in 1998.
New York is 9-1-1 in 11 series, losing only one. And that was against the Orioles in Baltimore when they were held to six runs in three games April 15-17. But about 10 days later in the Bronx, the Yankees swept three from the Orioles, scoring 27 runs in that three-game set.
Tonight’s game kicks off a two-week stretch where the O’s play all AL East teams. After four with New York at O’s Park through Thursday, Tampa Bay comes to town next weekend. Then the O’s go to New York for three and Boston for five over a four-day stretch. So yeah, challenging. Didn’t need the Cap to figure that out.
Against the division this season, the Orioles have gone 2-4 versus New York, 0-3 against Tampa Bay and 2-1 against Boston. They are 4-2 at home in AL East games and 0-6 on the road.
Two big weeks have arrived for the Orioles. Will Adley Rutschman arrive soon as well? His average is down to .194 with an OPS of .649 in nine games for the Tides. How healthy will the team prove to be this week? Enough to be up for the challenge of the Yankees and Rays?
The O’s once lost one too: The Cincinnati Reds did not allow a hit on Sunday, but still lost 1-0 at Pittsburgh. It was the sixth time in MLB history that a club did not allow a hit but lost.
The Orioles had that happen to them once. It was on April 30, 1967 against the Detroit Tigers at Memorial Stadium. The O’s lost 2-1 to the Tigers, but Steve Barber pitched 8 2/3 without allowing a hit and Stu Miller got the last out of the ninth. The Orioles had just two hits in the game, so it was a contest that featured three runs but just two hits.
Detroit's linescore was 2-0-1.
The O’s linescored was 1-2-2.
That O’s team was the follow-up act to the 1966 World Series champs, but went 76-85.
On the farm Sunday: Struggling Delmarva badly needed a win and got one in a dramatic way yesterday when Isaac Bellony hit a three-run, walk-off homer in the last of the 11th for the 8-7 win over Salem. Bellony, 20, from the Virgin Islands, drove in five runs, adding a pair of RBI doubles. His OPS is up to .804. His double in the last of the ninth tied it and forced extras.
Delmarva, now 10-23, ended a six-game losing streak with its first walk-off win of 2022.
High Single-A Aberdeen keeps winning, beating Hudson Valley 3-2, and is now 24-7. Aberdeen went 5-1 in this series and is 14-2 the last 16 games. John Rhodes' sac fly in the ninth broke a 2-2 tie.
César Prieto went 4-for-5 with a double for the IronBirds and is now batting .354 with an OPS of 1.086. Colton Cowser, dropped to fifth in the batting order, went 3-for-4 with a run scored. His OPS is up to .771.
Lefty DL Hall struggled at times with command as Memphis beat Triple-A Norfolk 5-4. He allowed two hits and two runs with two walks and seven strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings. He threw a season-high 64 pitches and has an ERA of 4.05 in his first two Triple-A starts. Kyle Stowers hit a two-run homer and Kelvin Gutiérrez crushed a solo shot for the Tides, who are 15-21.
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