NEW YORK - Kyle Bradish gave the Orioles five innings last night. Manager Brandon Hyde gave the ball to his relievers to cover the last four.
Mychal Givens retired the Yankees in order in the sixth, on a strikeout and two ground balls. A nice little reminder that he can be a weapon during any stretch of the game.
Also, a reminder that Hyde doesn’t want to use him for more than one inning. Givens threw nine pitches and stayed in the dugout until the handshake line.
Yennier Cano put runners on base in the seventh and eighth and got out of jams. Stranded and straddled.
Félix Bautista struck out three batters in the ninth, but a 12th save eluded him thanks to Aaron Judge’s game-tying home run with one out. A poorly located splitter. Was supposed to be low and on the outside corner.
Bryan Baker is the hard-luck loser here because of the automatic runner, a ground ball, intentional walk and fly ball.
Givens’ return to the club following his knee injury in spring training gives the Orioles a veteran setup man and fresh arm, but the bullpen is less optionable.
Givens, Cionel Pérez, Austin Voth and Danny Coulombe can’t be sent down without the waiver process and other complications. Bautista had three options remaining, Cano and Bryan Baker two, and Mike Baumann one.
How Hyde and the organization handle the ‘pen is a day-to-day process.
“You plan all you want, but things happen crazy in this game and this league,” Hyde said yesterday.
“We’re really happy with how our guys are throwing the baseball.”
Orioles' relievers ranked third in the majors with a 3.03 ERA before last night, and they rose to second at 3.00. The Yankees are first at 2.80. The Astros went from second at 3.01 to fourth at 3.19. The Orioles have had a few brief stays on top.
Cano has allowed only one run, with no walks, in 25 2/3 innings. He’s become a media obsession, with another national writer asking Hyde about the right-hander during yesterday’s dugout scrum.
Reporter: “If he were to end the season right now, he’d have the most innings pitched without having walked a guy. I assume you’re not going to hold him out for the remainder of the season, and he’ll pitch again.”
Hyde: “That’s correct, yeah.”
Glad we got that out of the way.
“They tried to tighten up his delivery a little bit in spring training and it just allowed him to get confidence and to be able to get his command,” Hyde said. “It’s never been about stuff with him. It’s about the 96 and 90 mph out of the same plain and being consistent with the arm slot. He’s obviously done extremely well since that time in spring. Had a few good appearances at the end of spring, had some good appearances in Norfolk, and just kind of kept it rolling.
“He’s done an amazing job for us, so hopefully he can keep it going.”
The Orioles ranked nine in bullpen ERA last summer, and the unit is a strength again this season with some different names and styles.
“When we throw strikes, we have success,” Hyde said. “When our guys are able with their stuff to be able to work ahead in the count, it puts the hitters in a defensive position. We have some big stuff in our bullpen, and for our guys to be able to work ahead in the count and be able to get into high leverage counts for them, that’s when they’re rolling. That’s what Cano’s doing. Félix, when he’s really good, the hitter doesn’t know if it’s 100 coming or a split coming.
“Dillon Tate when he gets here, last year he had a lot of success just by working ahead in the count, 95 mph sinker. I like that we have a little bit different variety of pitching. Baumann is different than Voth who’s different than Cano, who’s different than Bautista. Our two lefties are way different. They offer different pitch mix. To me, the best bullpens have a little bit of something different with each guy. But the commonality is working ahead in the count and throwing strikes.”
Tate is finishing his rehab assignment. He let two inherited runners score last night and surrendered another run of his own. The Orioles could reinstate him from the injured list and option him, noting how he didn’t pitch in spring training, or they could put him on their roster, make a corresponding move and hope he summons 2022 Dillon Tate.
* Cedric Mullins has joined two Hall of Famers as the only players in the modern era to have a cycle and five-hit game in the span of 10 days, according to STATS.
The St. Louis Browns’ George Sisler achieved it in 1921 and Pittsburgh’s Max Carey in 1925. Sisler had a six-hit game four days before his cycle.
* Mullins and Gunnar Henderson homered in last night’s loss.
Also per STATS, the Orioles and Astros have won nine games without hitting a home run to tie for most in the majors.