Anaheim, Calif. - The Orioles will face three left-handed starters this series against the Angels, a rare occurrence. For tonight, it puts Ryan O'Hearn on the bench as Adley Rutschman rests.
O'Hearn is hitting .300 with an .830 OPS in 83 games. He has just 22 plate appearances this year against lefty pitching and is 5-for-20, but two of the five hits are homers.
"Well, it gives guys opportunities," manager Brandon Hyde said of his lineup against left-hander Kenny Rosenberg tonight. "But a lot of times in those games, too, those lefties come off the bench in big spots. So even though we are facing a lefty a lot of times O (O’Hearn) will hit, (Adam) Frazier will hit. I have Adley off the bench tonight, too.
"Best-case scenario is we can chase a starter early and get into their bullpen, which kind of sets us up for the series. We are going to face a lot of righties after this. At least two of three in Boston and at least two with St. Louis and probably four against Tampa."
Speaking of the Rays, they lost today 7-3 at home to the Red Sox. So the O's Amarican League East lead is three games at the moment and could be 3.5 games at the end of tonight.
A few players have recently expressed the point the O's can't worry too much about the Rays right now, as they don't play them for another week and a half. If you worry about games coming up that far down the road, you might lose the one right in front of you.
“It’s a great attitude to have," Hyde said. "I’m maybe a little more guilty than they are. I was watching the Rays game inside and was a huge Red Sox fan this afternoon. We need to take care of what we need to take care of. Can’t really worry about anyone else even though I do watch. Their mindset is to try and win tonight, and it’s been like that all year."
O's right-handed reliever Jacob Webb is back in Anaheim after being designated for assignment by the Angels on Aug. 5 and added by the Orioles via waivers two days later. He has a 1.59 ERA in 13 games with Baltimore.
“I love Webb’s makeup. Danny (Coulombe) too," Hyde said today in talking about the two bullpen pitchers. "These guys have great makeup. One, they are bulldogs. They want to be out there, they want to compete. They are made right. They are unbelievably competitive. Webby throws mid-90s, good slider and good changeup he can get lefties out with. And his numbers were pretty good before he got here. But he’s been absolutely excellent.
“Really comfortable pitching him now. I’m glad I haven’t pitched him too much lately because I was overusing him some the first two weeks he was here, out of necessity. Now he’s a little more fresh and hopefully he can finish strong too."
Hyde today was asked about the rise to the Triple-A level of 19-year-old shortstop Jackson Holliday. He made a strong impression on the Orioles in major league spring training - stuck around a long time then - and is now the No. 1 ranked prospect in baseball. Tuesday night he will play for Norfolk at his fourth different level this year, rising from Single-A to start the year to now Triple-A
“It was fun having him in spring training. That was pretty rare, too, a high school kid in his first spring training being in major league camp," Hyde said. "And be in major league camp as long as we kept him. I wanted him as long as possible because one, the experience he was going to get was going to be invaluable. Two, he didn’t look out of place and the game was not too fast for him.
“I was just really impressed how he handled everything. How he fit in. Didn’t try to do too much. A lot of young guys try to do too much, especially in their first big league camp. Especially at that age. He just was really consistent, caught the ball at short real well and I enjoyed having him. Obviously got great bloodlines and been around big league guys a lot. Happy for the year he’s having."
Has Hyde ever seen a player rise four levels in one minor league season?
“I have not see that," he said of Holliday.
The Angels have scratched Shohei Ohtani from tonight's lineup. Originally, he was batting second as the designated hitter. Ohtani's 44 homers lead the AL and are tied for the major league lead. He was scratched due to right oblique tightness, the result apparently from a swing during batting practice.