Hyde's pregame notes on Kimbrel, Gibson, Mountcastle and more

ST. LOUIS – The Orioles may be back to having one closer, and it’s once again veteran Craig Kimbrel. He buzzed through the ninth inning Sunday on 14 pitches with two strikeouts, recording the ninth save of his year and the 426th of his career. 

Over his past four games, he has thrown four hitless and scoreless innings, lowering his ERA from 4.73 to 3.63, with no walks and six strikeouts in that span.

So is he the main ninth-inning guy again?

“Well yeah, I think so. Probably,” manager Brandon Hyde said this afternoon at Busch Stadium before the opener of the series and the road trip in St. Louis. “I’m going to see how he feels today. … He looked great yesterday. That was awesome. Really happy. Nice to get him a three-run lead, have a little cushion there. But I thought the stuff was outstanding.”

The Orioles are reunited today with their good friend and 2023 teammate, right-hander Kyle Gibson. He pitched to a 4.73 ERA over 192 innings for the Orioles and is 3-2 with a 4.09 ERA for the Cardinals and will face the O’s Wednesday afternoon.

Hyde gave an extended answer today when asked about Gibson, recalling the righty's positive influence on the ’23 Birds and how much he enjoyed having him on the team.

“Huge impact on our team last year," said Hyde. "Not only was he really good, but in a lot of ways he impacted us. One, his performance. He gave us a chance almost every time out. He went deep, deep into games on nights we needed him to go. If we were short in the ‘pen, if Kyle knew it, he would be out there in the seventh inning and did that for us all the time last year.

“He was a starter-saver, an innings-eater, kept us in games and pitched well. On the four days he wasn’t pitching, top-five best teammate I’ve ever been around. What he was like in the dugout, in the clubhouse, a leader that would speak up. Make sure people were acting appropriately and professionally. All that stuff mattered to him and there are guys in here that are very, very fond of him. Myself included.”

Gibson posted a note in the O’s dugout this afternoon which read: “No water hoses allowed in dugout.”

To which Hyde quipped, “I hope we break that rule about six times today.”

The Orioles are not in a six-man rotation yet, but it might feel that way tonight for Baltimore starter Dean Kremer. He is pitching on seven days' rest since his start May 12 versus Arizona. His last four starts he has a 2.63 ERA and 30 strikeouts over 24 innings.

“Dean has had a few extra days," Hyde said. "Just kind of in a weird stretch now with adding Grayson (Rodriguez) back and we pushed Dean back a couple of days, but he’s ready to go. Been throwing the ball really well for us this year."

Hyde added that while Kremer has dealt with minor blister issues in some recent games, he thinks the right-hander may be putting that behind him.

“It has cleared up better this time. He should be fine," Hyde said. 

Anthony Santander is the DH again tonight for the Orioles, still dealing with a sore left knee.

“It’s sore and swollen. Bruised up pretty good," Hyde said. "But the swelling has gone down quite a bit since yesterday."

Meanwhile Ryan Mountcastle is not starting this game after not starting on Saturday. Anything physically going on here?

“I’m just giving him a little bit of a break, honestly," Hyde said. "He’s fine. He’s going to be back in there the next couple of days. Just little bit of a break today," he said of Mountcastle, who is 1-for-20 his past five games.

Center fielder Cedric Mullins went 3-for-8 in the last two games of the Seattle series. The Orioles are hopeful it's the beginning of a good stretch swinging it for Mullins, who was 3-for-36 the previous 12 games.

“When Ced is going our team’s different. Because he is playing Gold Glove defense also," Hyde said. "He can steal a base like he did yesterday. Changes the dynamic for our lineup."

Here is my tweet showing Kyle Gibson's dugout note right here.

O's game blog: The road trip begins
Orioles and Cardinals lineups for series opener in...

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