Hyde on offensive struggles, Hays' slump, pitching health, closing and more (Bradish update)

BOSTON – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde thought his club would face three right-handers in the Red Sox series, dictating how he wrote out lineups, but Nick Pivetta won’t pitch on Wednesday due to soreness in his elbow/forearm area.

The substitute for Pivetta hasn’t been announced.

The offense has scored only 23 runs in the past seven games and went 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position Saturday in Pittsburgh. The Orioles are batting .195 against lefties.

“I’m not sure who’s throwing tomorrow, but at least two (right-handers) as of right now,” Hyde said. “We have to do a better job against left-handed starters, honestly. I know our record was good against them last year, but the way our lineup is constructed, we’re going to see everybody’s best left-handed starters, their best left-handed relievers. We haven’t swung the bat the best against them this year. We’ve got to do a better job of it going forward.”

Austin Hays is on the bench today against right-hander Brayan Bello. The mustache is gone, and the slump also needs to disappear.

Hays was under the weather in Pittsburgh. He’s hitless in his last 19 at-bats and 2-for-26 this season.

“Just really pressing,” Hyde said. “Early in the count contact, just a little bit overaggressive right now. So, just trying to slow him down a little bit right now.

“We have a lot of confidence in Austin. He’s going to get it going.”

An interrupted spring training didn’t do Hays any favors. He had a stomach virus that kept him out of the lineup and didn’t allow for any momentum going into Opening Day.

“He didn’t get a ton of stadium at-bats, and I don’t know if that carried over into the start of the year or not,” Hyde said. “I know he feels good right now physically and said he’s seeing the ball well. That’s just not happening early on so far. But we’re confident he’s going to get it going.”

The 87 strikeouts from Orioles pitchers are the most through nine games in club history. Only twice has the staff fanned more than 90 through 10 games – 96 in 2020 and 90 in 2018.

Every starter has worked at least five innings, but the Orioles are 5-4 going into today.

“We’ve had good starts,” Hyde said. “I think our bullpen’s done a good job, also. I think we’ve pitched fairly well. The majority of games we’ve had no chance to win. We just haven’t gotten the big hit in a few games. It’s still really early, we’re still above .500. Haven’t played our best offensive baseball.

“So far, we’re pitching fairly well and giving us a chance on a nightly basis.”

Hyde just needs everyone to stay healthy while he waits for John Means and Kyle Bradish.

Pivetta is the latest pitcher to come down to succumb to elbow pain. Cleveland’s Shane Bieber will undergo Tommy John surgery. The Braves’ Spencer Strider was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.

The Yankees’ Gerrit Cole was diagnosed a month ago with elbow nerve irritation. The Astros’ Framber Valdez was scratched from yesterday’s start due to elbow soreness.

Baseball can’t slow the wave of high-profile injuries that are hurting the game.

“It’s a big story right now,” Hyde said. “It’s tough to put your finger on any sort of, what the rhyme and reason is. A lot of people have a variety of ideas of why. I don’t know the reason. I know people train differently now, but I’m not a doctor or a physical therapist or an arm specialist.

“Yeah, it is concerning that so many big names in our game are not pitching right now.”

Critics of the two-second reduction on the pitch clock with runners on base are using it to explain the rash of injuries. That’s where they place the blame, with the loudest voices coming from the players union.

Asked how his staff is handling it, Hyde said, “I haven’t noticed a difference, to be honest with you.”

Closer Craig Kimbrel is available this afternoon after pitching Friday and Saturday, staying in the bullpen Sunday and having the off-day.

Yennier Cano tried to close out Sunday’s game but loaded the bases with no outs and the Pirates won 3-2 on Gunnar Henderson’s throwing error.

“The ninth inning is a different animal all together,” Hyde said. “We’ve seen Yenni have great outings in the ninth inning, as well. He almost got out of that jam the other day. He left a couple balls up early, but then did what Yenni Cano does, which is get a lot of weak, soft contact, usually on the ground. That’s what happened. Just didn’t work out for us.

“The two innings are just different because of the pressure, the stress. A lot of times there’s not going to be relief behind you. And also, teams can load up the ninth inning lineup-wise how they want to with nothing to lose there at the end. Teams play offensively a little bit different in the ninth inning. It’s just a little bit different mentality there.”

Note: More good news on Bradish’s progress from a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He’s joining High-A Aberdeen today on an injury rehab assignment.

The Orioles say the assignment will begin “soon.”

Bradish had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow in January. He threw all of his pitches in a bullpen session at Camden Yards before flying to Sarasota to continue his progression at the complex.

O's game blog: The Boston series begins at Fenway ...
Orioles and Red Sox lineups at Fenway Park

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