A wild pitch broke the tie. Back-to-back walks sent Tate to the dugout. Christian Vázquez’s single off Wade LeBlanc stuck Tate with another run in a 6-4 loss.
“I stretched Tate,” Hyde said after the game. “I was actually trying to stay away from Dillon tonight because he had thrown quite a bit. We had a day off yesterday, but he had pitched in back-to-back before that.
“I’m going to need to give D a couple days off.”
Tate could develop into the high-leverage reliever that the Orioles imagined since acquiring him from the Yankees in the Zack Britton trade. He has the arm for it. Consistency and results need to follow.
Making his first opening day roster was a step in the right direction. He was good in a small sample size that’s going to keep expanding as long as he’s healthy. But last night was an unfortunate stumble.
In a game he was supposed to watch exclusively from the bullpen.
Tate entered Thursday’s home opener with two runners in scoring position and one out in the sixth inning. He struck out Bobby Dalbec, and Marwin Gonzalez ran into an out at the plate on a pitch that scooted past catcher Pedro Severino.
Alex Verdugo doubled with one out in the seventh, Shawn Armstrong replaced Tate and J.D. Martinez doubled. The first run against Tate in 2021 - three innings in three games - crossed the plate while he sat on the bench.
One of the two runs last night was earned to leave Tate with a 5.40 ERA. It also scored after he departed.
The splits inevitably come up in conversations about Tate and his chances of becoming an established and effective reliever.
He’s held right-handed batters to one hit in eight at-bats, but he walked Xander Bogaerts last night. Verdugo has accounted for the one hit for left-handers in three at-bats and he also walked last night.
Left-handed hitters slashed .294/.435/.471 last season, going 5-for-17 with a home run, four walks and two strikeouts. Right-handers batted .105/.146/.132, going 4-for-38 with a double, one walk and 12 strikeouts.
Tate was a bigger threat to left-handed hitters as a rookie in 2019, holding them to five hits in 26 at-bats, including a double and two home runs.
“If you look at Dillon Tate’s numbers last year, he really dominated right-handed hitters,” Hyde said yesterday afternoon. “The next step for me is to be able to go both sides, right-handed and left-handed. He’s got the changeup to do that. He’s got a mid-90s-to-upper-90s fastball that has a ton of sink to it. Dillon Tate, it’s plus stuff, now it’s about being able to work ahead in the count, being able to throw that sinker to both sides of the plate, maybe spot a four-seamer in to left-handers, but have more weapons. And he has the weapons. Now it’s about learning how to use them.
“He’s still really, really young in his career. Sometimes that takes a little time and there’s inconsistency at times, but it’s all about command and understanding how to get hitters out for D, because the stuff is there.”