Hays on Orioles' depth, more on Henderson's homer streak, Baumann's inherited runners, and more

Austin Hays got past the illness that kept him out of the Orioles lineup prior to the last road trip. The bottle of Pedialyte in his locker yesterday was gulped more as a preventative measure with four day games in a row. Restore fluids and prevent dehydration.

Hays is trying to remain upright while teammates keep dropping around him.

Cedric Mullins is in Sarasota rehabbing from a strained groin. Ryan Mountcastle went on the injured list Tuesday with vertigo. Austin Voth went on the IL yesterday with elbow discomfort.

Reliever Danny Coulombe was unavailable recently due to illness, going eight days between appearances. Two other relievers, Mychal Givens and Dillon Tate, are on injury rehab assignments this week.

The tale would be much sadder except that the Orioles are winning. Five in a row before last night’s 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays. More than every team other than the Rays when the night began.

“It’s something that we talked about earlier in the year,” Hays said. “It’s just something that kind of continues to be the trend of, just a relentless mindset of the offense and the one through 13 mentality. Like, even if you’re not in the starting lineup that day, you might be the guy who wins it for us.”

(If I may be bold enough to offer a T-shirt suggestion, something with “1 Through 13” sounds like a winner.)

“We’ve been playing a lot of matchups,” Hays said. “You look at what (Aaron) Hicks has done. He’s stepped right and he’s playing unbelievable for us. Playing great defense in center field. It just goes with the team culture. We have a good environment here, and he came in right away and just felt comfortable here, and it allowed him to just go out and play his game.

“You never can predict those things. Like, (Ryan) O’Hearn stepping up in a big way with Mounty going down, dealing with whatever is going on with him. Just hoping that’s something that’s really short and get it resolved quickly. But these two guys are going crazy right now.

“Gunnar (Henderson) is really starting to click and putting things together. He’s doing a lot of damage for us the last week.”

Hicks broke up the Blue Jays' shutout bid with a two-out single in the ninth and has reached base in his first 12 games with the Orioles, the longest streak since Jorge Mateo's 14 in 2021. O'Hearn began the rally with a two-out single and is 7-for-14 with a double and two home runs during a four-game hitting streak.

Few people would have predicted a winning record for the Orioles with all of these players missing from the active roster, let alone being 17 games above .500 and in second place in the division. They win with O’Hearn batting cleanup and Josh Lester at first base. They win with Adam Frazier leading off prior to Henderson’s elevation in the order.

Role players who are keeping this team rolling.

One through 13.

“You just never know who it’s going to be that is coming up big for you,” Hays said. “It’s a long season, you’re going to go through stretches where guys get hurt, people get banged up. Guys get hot. And we’re just going through that right now.

“Guys are getting hot that are getting opportunities and they’re stepping up in a big way for this team, so it’s been awesome to see.”

Hays spoke to Tate recently for a health update on Mullins.

“He said that they faced each other down there in Sarasota,” Hays said. “He’s gotten some at-bats, so that’s encouraging, that’s good to hear. I haven’t talked to him about running or anything yet, but I think he was able to get some at-bats.”

* Henderson finally went hitless last night, though he was certain that he beat out a ground ball with two runners on base in the eighth. He also disputed a called third strike in his previous at-bat

Henderson’s streak of home runs in three consecutive games tied six other Orioles for third-longest by a rookie, per STATS. He joined Jim Gentile in 1960, Curt Blefary in 1965, Leo Gomez in 1991, Nolan Reimold in 2009, Jonathan Schoop in 2014 and Ryan Mountcastle in 2021.

Jay Gibbons is second on the list with four straight games in June 2001. Caleb Joseph holds the record with five in August 2014.

Joseph batted .207/.264/.354 with nine homers in 82 games. He was the starting catcher, including the playoffs, after Matt Wieters underwent Tommy John surgery.

* Mike Baumann inherited two runners from Danny Coulombe last night in the eighth inning, raising his total to 27 for the season.

Baumann is tied with the Blue Jays' Tim Mayza for second-most in the majors.

Mayza stranded two last night on Henderson's ground ball. One scored against Baumann, but after he induced an odd 6-4-2 double play on George Springer's ground ball.

* Former Orioles reliever Brad Brach will be in the MASN booth as the third man for the July 17-19 series against the Dodgers at Camden Yards.

Brach spent 4 ½ seasons with the Orioles and made the All-Star team in 2016, when he was 10-4 with a 2.05 ERA and 1.038 WHIP in 71 appearances and averaged 10.5 strikeouts and less than one home run per nine innings.

Brach finished his Orioles career with a 2.99 ERA in 288 games. He was traded to the Braves at the 2018 deadline for international bonus slot money.

The Orioles got the best of Brach, who later pitched for the Cubs, Mets and Reds. He spent the 2022 season at Triple-A Gwinnett in the Braves’ system before going on the restricted list in June.

Former Orioles center fielder Mike Devereaux will serve as a third man in the MASN booth for the July 14-16 series against the Marlins and the Aug. 8-10 series against the Astros at Camden Yards. Former closer Gregg Olson closer Gregg Olson will be in the booth for the Aug. 28-30 series against the White Sox at Camden Yards.

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