Jorge Mateo ran full-speed into Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson yesterday on a bunt up the line, and the result was predictable. Mateo hit the ground hard and stayed down as manager Brandon Hyde and head athletic trainer Brian Ebel bolted from the dugout.
Mateo eventually got up and finished his at-bat, falling to one knee on a swing and striking out on the next pitch. But not until Hyde had patted him on the back and gave him a quick shoulder rub, relieved that his starting shortstop didn’t join the list of injured Orioles.
Two innings later, Chris Owings was pinch-hitting for Mateo, who left the game with rib cage soreness.
Of course he did. This team is a bundle of bad breaks.
Hyde told the media afterward that Mateo has a left shoulder and chest contusion. X-rays were negative and he’s day-to-day.
The six-game road trip took a really nasty turn for the Orioles, the euphoria of winning two of three from the Cardinals destroyed by the sweep in Detroit. The Tigers were 9-23 after losing 16 of 19. They came within Trey Mancini’s ninth inning home run yesterday of back-to-back shutouts.
The Orioles need to regroup and it must happen quickly with the Yankees in town for a four-game series. If the weather allows them to play tonight.
A night off would benefit the Orioles, but another doubleheader might ruin them.
Austin Hays is supposed to take some swings later today to test his injured left hand. He’s avoided the IL, but day-to-day status didn’t mean only a couple of days.
Hays is hanging in that in between area, where losing him for 10 days probably would have been extreme, but he missed an entire series beyond Friday's pinch-running duties and perhaps the opener of another.
Mateo will be evaluated again on Monday. Torkelson lowered his shoulder as Mateo approached, and the collision was violent. The initial concern was a concussion.
Mancini continues to receive treatment on his rib cage. He’s playing hurt, but he homered twice against the Tigers.
Ramón Urías has returned from whatever caused his abdominal soreness. Ryan Mountcastle can’t return from his left wrist/forearm strain before the weekend.
The Orioles flew home last night and will limp into Camden Yards later today.
Cedric Mullins will be happy to get away from Tigers left-hander Tarik Skubal, who struck him out three times yesterday on nine pitches. Rony Garcia struck him out on nine.
Luis Severino is 6-1 with a 3.59 ERA and 0.954 WHIP in 11 career games against the Orioles, and he starts tonight for the Yankees. He faced them on April 26 in New York and allowed four runs and three hits in six-plus innings, including Anthony Santander’s three-run homer in the sixth.
Down on the farm, Adley Rutschman went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and is batting .194 with a .649 OPS since joining Triple-A Norfolk. He caught DL Hall, who allowed two runs and two hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
Hall also threw a wild pitch and hit two batters.
Left-hander Nick Vespi retired all three batters he faced with two strikeouts and maintained his 0.00 ERA.
Both of the Orioles’ primary left-handed relievers from past seasons, Tanner Scott and Paul Fry, are gone. Scott was traded to the Marlins late in camp. Fry was designated for assignment on Saturday.
Cionel Pérez is the current late-inning lefty, and he’s allowed one run in 10 1/3 innings. Keegan Akin provides length, and he’s allowed four runs in 21 innings with just one home run.
Logan Allen is the third lefty and has made three appearances since the Orioles claimed him on waivers, allowing two runs and three hits with two walks in 1 2/3 innings.
Vespi, with 21 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings, keeps lurking. And the Orioles see him.