Injuries contribute to painful outcomes for Orioles in Detroit

The good vibes that gained strength for the Orioles in St. Louis are weakened for the predictable reasons.

The club isn’t built to withstand injuries to key players, and the cluster is a killer.

Beating the Cardinals in the final game of the series with virtually no bench and with the bullpen almost empty in the late innings is more astounding now that the Orioles are a loss away from being swept by a bad Tigers team.

I ran down the litany of health concerns while prepping’s Brendan Mortensen for his first road trip and first taste of beat work. Ryan Mountcastle had a sore left wrist. Ramón Urías had discomfort in his abdomen. Austin Hays had lacerations on the back of his left hand from Genesis Cabrera’s spikes. Rougned Odor had a sinus issue.

The taxi squad was full because the Orioles needed to prepare for multiple roster moves.

The bench held three or four reserves in St. Louis and still didn’t give manager Brandon Hyde more than one healthy option – the catcher who wasn’t in the lineup.

Urías pinch-hit Friday night and started at third base yesterday, but he was the cleanup hitter for the first time in his career. There’s a reason why he usually bats lower.

Mountcastle is on the 10-day injured list. Hays would be making a surprise return if he’s in today’s lineup, but he’s expected to test the hand, so it’s possible.

Meanwhile, losing them is just too much for the Orioles to withstand.

Urías is batting .213 with a .546 OPS. Odor, directly behind him in yesterday’s lineup, went 0-for-3 and is batting .189 with a .548 OPS. Tyler Nevin was sixth and had one of the club’s four hits as he keeps auditioning. Ryan McKenna was seventh after being recalled earlier in the day, and he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and double play. Anthony Bemboom is batting .133 with a .479 OPS. Chris Owings went 0-for-3 and is batting .147 with a .486 OPS.

The offense will get back shortstop Jorge Mateo, who was rested yesterday. But there’s no adequate way to replace Mountcastle and Hays, and to lessen the burn felt by their absence.

"That’s two of our top of the order guys, two run producers for us that we’re counting on for runs, but other guys have to step up,” Hyde said. “It's a 26-man roster, we're in the big leagues and we've got to be able to hit.”

An admirable approach, bypassing the convenient excuse, but there’s no denying how much they’re missed.

The Orioles loaded the bases in each of the last three innings of Friday’s loss and didn’t cash in, leaving 14 runners on base overall and going 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. They were shut out yesterday and matched their season low with four hits.

Eight balls had exit velocities over 100 mph, four had expected batting averages over .500. The vast majority were outs, so the luck was bad, too.

Injuries aren’t confined to the major league side.

Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Yusniel Diaz is back on the injured list with another strain to his right hamstring. I was asked a few days ago why the Orioles don’t bring him up. Well, he’s played in only 14 games with the Tides because of his hamstring.

The .327/.424/.510 line looks real nice, but he can’t stay healthy and offer a lengthy period of production. Otherwise, maybe he’d be on the taxi squad or the active roster.

Infielder Jahmai Jones went on the injured list yesterday with right elbow inflammation.

Infielder Connor Norby wasn’t an option for the Orioles, but he went on the injured list at High-A Aberdeen with swelling around his eye after being hit by a pitch.

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