After a bullpen game on Thursday, pitching was not the issue in Friday night's 4-2 loss to the Tigers.
Brandon Hyde needed starting pitcher Jordan Lyles to eat some innings tonight against the Tigers. In Thursday’s series-deciding victory over the Cardinals, Hyde turned to six relievers to get the job done; Bryan Baker, Keegan Akin, Dillon Tate, Cionel Pérez, Joey Krehbiel and Félix Bautista.
A long outing from Lyles would give those bullpen arms a much needed rest. The stars were all aligning for that scenario to play out, and for the most part, it did. None of those names appeared in tonight's game.
"It was great to be able to rest some guys in the back of the 'pen today, coming off a day where we threw a lot of guys for multiple innings," said manager Brandon Hyde.
In the first, Javier Báez grounded into a double play, approximately the 1,000th double play that the Orioles have turned this year. OK, fine, it was the 41st. That’s still a lot of double plays. Most in the American League, in fact.
Later on, Jorge Mateo came one jump throw shy of turning another, which would have been a solid 9-out-of-10 on the cool scale, for those keeping score.
Lyles ran into his first sign of trouble in the third inning. A double from Miguel Cabrera landed just outside of the outstretched arm of Cedric Mullins, and put the Tigers on the board first. With that knock, Cabrera passed Barry Bonds for 17th on the all-time doubles list.
Cabrera would provide much of the damage for Detroit on the night. Shocking, I know.
A few innings later, it was another Miggy milestone. This time, with a solo shot, the 504th long-ball of his career. That surpassed Eddie Murray for 27th on the all-time home run list. Did giving up a homer to a future Hall of Famer lessen the blow?
"I can't go that far," Lyles said. "They all sting. ... Would've been nice to get another inning or two."
It was the beginning of the end of the night for Lyles. Two singles and a double later, Detroit’s lead had doubled to 4-0, cueing the veteran right-hander's exit.
Four earned runs over nearly six innings of work keeps you in ballgames.
"We're throwing the ball really well," Hyde said. "We're giving ourselves a chance almost every single night. ... Jordan kept us in the game"
Without the potent bats of Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle, the offense didn’t hold up its end of the bargain.
The lineup was led by two speedsters at the top of the order in Mullins and Mateo. They wasted no time living up to their reputations, knocking back-to-back infield singles to start the game. The duo followed it up with a double steal to put runners on second and third with just one out in the first inning.
That opportunity was squandered, as the O’s couldn’t strike first.
Squandered opportunities became a theme of the night for the Orioles. In the seventh, two walks and a single got a two-out rally brewing. The bases were loaded for the scorching hot Mateo, but the speedy shortstop struck out swinging to end the inning.
The O’s finally got on the board in the eighth inning, with back-to-back solo home runs from Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander. With momentum on the O's side, the bases were now juiced for Mullins. But the 2021 All-Star popped out to second, stranding the 11th runner of the evening.
Sensing a theme?
Mateo and Mancini were both hit by pitches to start the ninth inning. Two runners on, no outs, an opportunity to strike. After Anthony Santander struck out, Tyler Nevin walked to once again load the bases. Ramón Urías struck out. Rylan Bannon struck out. Ballgame.
The Orioles stranded 14 runners on base. A night of missed opportunities.
"We had a lot of chances, and I thought we took some really good at-bats," Hyde said after the game. "Just couldn't get the big hit tonight."
Austin Hays would normally be in the heart of the Orioles order, but appeared only in the ninth, as a pinch-runner for Mancini, having gotten stitches in his left hand yesterday after getting spiked in St. Louis. Luckily for the Orioles, Hays is optimistic that it won't have much of a long-term impact.
“I’d like to be back in the lineup in a couple of days, but we’ll just have to see how it’s healing,” Hays said.
Hays will need at least two days before resuming baseball activities, more than likely ruling him out for the rest of Baltimore’s series in Detroit. With the Yankees coming to town on Monday, the O’s lineup will need all the help it can get.
“If I feel like I’m capable after a couple of days, I can get back in there,” Hays added.
Lineup help against New York won’t be coming in the form of Ryan Mountcastle, who was placed on the 10-day injured list today with a left forearm injury.
Mountcastle says that the pain has just “gotten worse and worse,” so the O’s will play it safe for now.
“We’re hoping that once his days are up, he’ll be able to come back right then,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Just wasn’t healing in the way that we were hoping. We didn’t wanna rush him back, we wanna make sure he’s right. It’s a long season.”
It wasn't all bad news for the O's today. Denyi Reyes made his major league debut, tossing two scoreless innings and striking out Báez.
"It's like a dream come true," Reyes said. "Everyone was excited about that home run that went foul. Then after that, next pitch, slider down, strikeout. That's pretty good.
"We dream of reaching the big leagues a lot. When I received the call, I called my family and they cried."
One thing he would tell his younger self?
"You made it," Reyes said with a laugh. "Yeah, you made it."
More good news could be on the way for Baltimore tomorrow, as Bruce Zimmermann is set to hit the mound. The lefty boasts a 2.67 ERA through six starts so far this season. First pitch is set for 4:10 on MASN2.