Pregame notes from Toronto on Rodriguez's start, Givens, Frazier and more

TORONTO – Saying he got to see a “master class” at work last night, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde hopes right-hander Grayson Rodriguez can pick up today where Kyle Gibson left off Friday. Gibson held Toronto to one run and five hits over seven innings as the Orioles beat the Blue Jays 6-2 to take the series opener.

Now they can win this series today or tomorrow and take another series from an American League East opponent. The Birds are 7-6 in division games this season and 5-2 in their past seven division games, winning series against Boston and Tampa Bay.

Rodriguez is next up to face a strong Toronto lineup, but in two of his last three starts he has allowed six and eight runs. In between those two was his only career start against an AL East team, and he held Tampa Bay to two runs over 5 2/3 innings. So the Orioles know the talent is in there for the rookie, who, despite a 6.57 ERA for the year, has four starts in which he allowed two runs or fewer.

“Well, he got a master class last night,” Hyde said today when asked about Rodriguez pitching today. “Sure he was paying attention to that. A really tough lineup to pitch to, and Grayson is going to go through this. All the lineups he is facing for the first time. He’s getting to know the league and he’s doing a good job preparing. Seen him prepare a lot these last few days for this start today, and he got a great example last night of a really competitive outing.

“Hoping Grayson works ahead in the count and tries to match what Kyle did yesterday.”

The Orioles are getting closer to activating reliever Mychal Givens, on the injured list with left knee inflammation. Givens pitched in four games in spring training and has now thrown six minor league rehab games, going 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in 5 2/3 innings. In his most recent outing, Tuesday for Triple-A Norfolk versus Syracuse, he pitched 1 2/3 scoreless.

“He threw a side (Thursday in Baltimore) and feels pretty good. So, we’re just monitoring him now and, hopefully, he’ll be active for us in the near future,” stated Hyde.

Ramón Urías, on the IL with a left hamstring problem and out since his last game May 8, could be back playing sometime next week. That would be in minor league rehab games to get built back up to rejoin the Orioles.

“Urías is hitting today," said Hyde. "He’s baserunning tomorrow, going to do some light stuff on the bases tomorrow. So he’s hitting, running, throwing today, ground balls and light bases tomorrow. So he’s doing really, really well. He’s right on track to continue the progression, and I would think at some point later next week that he gets some at-bats somewhere and we take it from there."

Hyde talked this afternoon about what is, for infielder Adam Frazier, a power surge. His two-run homer in the ninth last night was his fifth this year, matching his 2021 total and two more than he hit last year. Frazier homered five times in 577 at-bats in 2021 and hit three last year with Seattle in 541 at-bats. This year his five have come in 131 at-bats and he is batting .229 with a .704 OPS for the Orioles.

“Adam just gives us some really good at-bats,” Hyde said. “He doesn’t punch out (much). Has had some tough luck this year with lineouts. But just gives us a balanced hitter and knows how to manage an at-bat. He plays winning baseball. Runner at second base, he tries his best to get him over and tries to do all the little things well to take a team at-bat. That was huge last night to get tack-on runs against these guys. He’s a real pro and knows how guys are going to attack him."

In the 2021 season, Frazier hit a homer every 115 at-bats on average, and last year it was one every 180 at-bats. This year he is hitting one every 26 at-bats.

His homer career high is 10, done in both 2018 and 2019 with Pittsburgh. 

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Lineups for Game 2 against Toronto

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