Following the first game of an April 13 doubleheader against the Mariners, Freddy Galvis was batting .143/.211/.171 and attracting some heat for his inconsistent play at shortstop.
The comparisons to José Iglesias weren’t flattering.
Some fans were demanding that the Orioles recall Richie Martin from the alternate training site, especially after he collected two hits, including an RBI double, a walk and two stolen bases in Tuesday’s game against the Nationals in Bowie. But Galvis had two hits, including his first home run, to close out the series at Camden Yards and erupted on the road.
Friday night’s victory in Arlington, Texas featured a double and triple from Galvis, along with two runs scored. His four hits last night left him one short of his career high set on June 15, 2018 while playing for the Padres.
Galvis doubled twice as the Orioles clinched the series win over the Rangers, giving him back-to-back multi-hit games for the first time in his career. His last four-hit game was Aug. 14, 2019 with the Reds.
Crazy to think that Galvis had seven hits in 13 games and six in two nights against the Rangers.
Seemingly in the blink of an eye, Galvis had improved his slash line to .265/.333/.449.
Galvis also looks a lot better in the field, making a diving stop last night and starting a 6-4-3 double play.
“Freddy’s been extremely solid defensively. We knew that going in,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “He’s going to make the routine play, he’s going to make some special plays, also, like he did last night. And offensively, I just think he got off to a slow start, was underneath the baseball a little bit, and you see him the last two days really staying on top, using the whole field, a lot of left-center from the left side.
“He just got off to a slow start and now he’s swinging the bat a little bit better.”
Hyde explained the decision to option Dean Kremer following last night’s game, which leaves the Orioles with a four-man rotation and open dates on Monday and Thursday.
“We’re going with four starters in this unique stretch where we have two off-days in a week,” Hyde said. “Hopefully it’s just a short amount of time before we get Dean back in the rotation. That’s how we explained it to him. And he was a pro, he took it well. He knows that we think highly of him and he’s going to make a lot of starts for us the rest of the year.”
Kremer is slotted fifth in the rotation to pile the fewest innings on him. The option makes it easier to control them, though the off-days prompted last night’s move.
“I think that it’s league-wide, the uncertainty about pitching with a six-month season after last year, so we’re going to try to take care of every pitcher that we have on the roster,” Hyde said. “Honestly, that’s why a bullpen arm (Cole Sulser) right now is big, because a lot of these guys have a lot of appearances so far this year. There’s a bunch of guys I’d love to not pitch today so they have two days off. Just because it’s a six-month season, sometimes you can get short-sighted and trying to win all these games early, which you want to. But we’ve got to try to take care of our arms, as well, just not knowing what’s going to happen the second half with the different workload from last year. So, we’re adding Sulser today to lengthen our bullpen a little bit.
“We have this unique two days off this week that’s different. We don’t usually have that. So, we’ve got to be creative in our rotation, as well as adding a bullpen arm.”
Hyde isn’t worried about the message sent by sending down a young pitcher, something the Orioles did with regularity while manipulating the roster in their contending years.
“In this particular case, it makes sense to have a four-man rotation with two days off and Dean just be pushed back a little bit, and that’s the way it is,” Hyde said.
“We’ve had to juggle bullpen and roster moves, not really last year, but the year before, because we would be short a lot and it was survival mode to have guys be able to pitch. Every team handles it differently. If you look league-wide, there’s a lot of pitching transactions because of this unique season coming from last year.”
Asked about players who stand out to him at the alternate site, Hyde first mentioned left-hander Keegan Akin, who retired the last eight batters he faced in a start versus the Nationals.
“Got a report on Keegan, he’s working hard, he’s improving and throwing a lot of strikes, so I’ve been watching that fairly closely,” Hyde said. “Been watching what (Austin) Hays has been doing, he’s swinging the bat great in the game he played down there. Some of the bullpen guys have been doing a nice job.
“They’re just kind of starting to get rolling, and hoping those guys are staying ready and waiting for the call.”
Cedric Mullins is 15-for-34 (.441) in eight road games this season. His 15 hits lead the majors.
“Just a little bit off lately,” Hyde said. “Kind of coming around the ball a little bit. I think they’re pitching him tough, I think the league knows now that Santander is a run producer, a really good player, and honestly, they’re pitching him tough. You’ve seen a lot of balls in the corner, they’re crowding him, they’re elevating on him, a lot of balls in, and that’s why you see him kind of getting early, trying to cheat a little bit. Like that doubleheader day off (Marco) Gonzales where he was just throwing cutters in and Tony was hooking them foul, hooking them foul.
“We talked to him about it after. He’s just got to shrink his strike zone a little bit, maybe change his approach, change his plan. But he is working extremely hard. He’s a little frustrated, but he’s working extremely hard to kind of get back to what he does best.
“When you fall into a little bit of a rut, you start to think about what they’re doing to you instead of having your plan and your approach and sticking with it, and I just think he’s gone away from that a little bit and I think you could see him get hot real quick.”
Hunter Harvey, on the 60-day injured list with a strained oblique, is playing catch and “progressing well,” Hyde said.
Orioles pitchers have walked three batters and struck out 23 in the first two games of the series. They didn’t allow a home run last night for the first time in nine games.
The Orioles have posted a 3.00 ERA in eight road games, the second-lowest in the American League and fourth-lowest in the majors.
Paul Fry has appeared in a team-high seven games, tied for the most by a left-hander in the league.
Weird Rangers stat: Joey Gallo grounded into a double play last night in the first inning, just the seventh of his career and the first since Aug. 12, 2018 at Yankee Stadium.
Here are the starters for the Orioles-Marlins series in Miami:
For the Rangers
Isiah Kiner-Falefa SS
Nick Solak 2B
Nate Lowe 1B
Adolis García RF
David Dahl DH
Jose Trevino C
Charlie Culberson 3B
Eli White LF
Leody Taveras CF
Kyle Gibson RHP