The Orioles had played four games on this road trip decided by two runs or less and won them all. Three outs from doing it again, the game got away from them. They lost 4-3 in the last of the ninth at Philadelphia last night.
It was a rare one-run loss, rare road loss lately for this team and a rare disappointing night in Birdland.
Now at 62-39, the Orioles lost Game No. 101 and now their first place lead over Tampa Bay is 1.5 games.
They had been 54-2 this year when leading after eight innings. But this time the club chose not to use busy reliever Félix Bautista and Yennier Cano could not hold the one-run edge. Jorge Mateo doubled clutched on a two-out grounder to short that turned into an infield hit. If he makes that play, the game rolls to the tenth inning.
But during a game they lost, the Orioles may have gained a late-game relief weapon. Right-hander Shintaro Fujinami was excellent getting six outs over the seventh and eighth innings with three strikeouts on just 21 pitches. The fastball was humming and the split was moving. It was something to watch. I would have been tempted to send him out for the ninth.
But at least the Orioles saw the potential of what Fujinami can be for the back-end of the bullpen and it was electric stuff. He could prove quite the addition for the bullpen.
Orioles' shortstop Gunnar Henderson left this game in the last of the eighth and it was announced he was dealing with lower back discomfort. He had a similar issue during the series at San Francisco in early June and missed a few days. As well as he played lately, the O's have their fingers crossed this will be only a minor issue for Henderson.
The loss was just the second for the O's on the road in their past 11 road games and they are now 32-19 on the road and 19-10 in one-run games.
Draft wrapup: The deadline to sign 2023 picks from the MLB Draft was yesterday at 5 p.m. ET. And on the final day the O’s added two signings to bring their haul from this year’s class to 19 players signed among the 22 they selected this draft.
The Orioles yesterday signed Competitive Balance Round B pick, Florida State pitcher Jackson Baumeister, the No. 63 overall pick this draft. According to Jim Callis from MLB.com, he got a bonus of $1,605,100 which was $361,800 dollars over slot listed amount for that selection. The club also signed 14th-round pick, pitcher Michael Forret from State College of Florida. Per Callis he signed for $450,000 which is $300,000 over the amount for that pick. The Orioles signed several selections for under slot amounts, enabling them to go over slot on these selections. In the end they pretty much used up about their entire total pool amount of over $10.5 million.
A draft-eligible sophomore, Baumeister went 5-5 with a 5.06 ERA for Florida State, with 29 walks and 95 strikeouts in 69 innings. He was third-team all ACC. He was national pitcher of the week when he threw seven scoreless innings April 6 versus Clemson with 14 strikeouts, the most by any ACC pitcher this season. Baumeister's fastball sits often in the 93, 94 mph range and has touched 98. The O's think he can have success elevating his fastball.
Per Callis, Forret shows a three-pitch mix with a low 90s fastball, upper 70s curveball and low 80s changeup.
In the first three drafts under the Mike Elias regime, the O’s signed four pitchers selected in the first 10 rounds of those drafts. Last year they drafted five pitchers and signed four in the first 10 rounds. This year they drafted and signed seven pitchers in the top 10 rounds.
Among their 19 signed players were 12 pitchers and seven position players, with all of the signees being college athletes. The Orioles signed 11 right-handed pitchers, one left-handed pitcher, five outfielders, one infielder, and one catcher.
Most of the players will start their pro careers in the rookie-level Florida Complex League. Some will advance to play at Low-A Delmarva later this summer.