Random thoughts following yesterday's win in home opener

The Orioles will announce tonight’s starting pitcher before he begins his warm-up tosses. The wait is long, but it’s not unreasonable.

Spenser Watkins could be followed by Alexander Wells. Wells could be followed by Watkins. Both arrangements present a proper contrast in arms and styles.

Or manager Brandon Hyde has something or someone up his sleeve.

Mike Baumann pitched in relief yesterday and the Orioles like him as a multi-inning reliever, with the freedom to switch him back to a starter’s role. They have a long history of beginning a young pitcher’s career in the ‘pen.

Baumann tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings yesterday and the knee-jerk reaction is to make him the fifth starter. He could be headed for it. Or he could be really valuable in this kind of tandem setup.

The Orioles are carrying extra starters for a reason.

Hyde noted how Baumann’s fastball was 97-98 mph. That works in any role.

The next wave of top pitching prospects are hovering like an annoying waiter. Baumann has made only five major league appearances, but he’s got to be aware of what’s happening behind him. Keegan Akin knows, and he tossed three scoreless innings at The Trop with the best command we’ve seen from him. Bruce Zimmermann shut out the Brewers over four frames before Baumann replaced him.

Dean Kremer must wait through a strained left oblique, an injury that never heals quickly. The timing was extremely poor, but he’ll get more chances.

Tyler Wells’ unexpected arrival in the rotation leaves fewer spots for everyone else. But competition is a good thing. That’s what we’ve been told for years.

Unlike pizza for breakfast, it’s much better when it’s heated.

Jorge Mateo made his fourth start at shortstop in four games and finished with a single, his fourth walk and stolen base. He also had a nice backhand stop and throw to get the force at second base in the fifth inning.

Nothing against Pat Valaika, but the Orioles made the right move basically swapping them after claiming Mateo on waivers from the Padres. Valaika was the corresponding move.

The ceiling is higher with Mateo. The speed makes him special. It’s time to find out, with extensive playing time, whether he’s a legit major leaguer or just fast.

Herb Washington was fast. The Orioles want a lot more out of Mateo, and so far they’re getting it.

There’s an energy with Mateo that isn’t evident while observing him in the clubhouse or during conversations. He munched on a glazed donut inside the Dunedin clubhouse late in spring training while updating the media on his bruised hand. The sugar rush bypassed him. He’s just a chill guy. But get him on the field and it’s a different story.

Mateo raced home from second base on Cedric Mullins’ two-run single in the second and fired up the crowd more by popping out of his slide, slapping his hands together and yelling as he walked back to the dugout. 

If there had been a top rope, he would have climbed it and executed a Superfly Splash.

Mateo is costing Kelvin Gutiérrez at-bats, because Hyde wants to keep Ramón Urías in the lineup and second base is occupied by Rougned Odor against right-handers. The Brewers are starting left-hander Eric Lauer tonight, which puts Odor on the bench.

Anthony Santander reached base four times with a single, double and two walks. He’s 5-for-10 with a home run and four walks.

“He’s had four really good games offensively,” Hyde said. “With Tony, it’s about swinging at strikes. He’s done that for the most part. He looks on time with the fastball. He laced that ball into right-center.

“His pitch selection is improved from last year. I think he’s feeling a lot better physically, and it’s translating into a little more bat speed, a little more trust at the plate, and he’s having great at-bats so far.”

 

Orioles lineup vs. Brewers
Big Mike had big outing as O's beat Brewers
 

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