The run-scoring single that Freddy Galvis poked into left field last night in the eighth inning to give the Orioles a short-lived lead could be an indication that his early hitting woes are evaporating.
Or it was a tease - just like the lead that also disappeared.
Galvis struck out in the 10th to close out a 6-4 loss to the Red Sox, raising his total to 13 in 31 at-bats. Three of those strikeouts came last night.
Going to the opposite field on a 0-2 pitch from Adam Ottavino offered a glimmer of encouragement from a player who fanned 30 times last summer in 141 at-bats with the Reds.
The swing-and-miss result has placed Galvis on a course that isn’t his usual path. A new team also has brought a new issue.
Manager Brandon Hyde lowered Galvis to ninth in the order this afternoon after batting him eighth last night.
“Just that hit off Ottavino, I hope that gets him going a little bit,” Hyde said this morning in his Zoom call. “That was just such a short swing. It was just try not to do too much. Ottavino’s 96-97 (mph), movement. He kind of just sat on a ball out over the plate, put a really short swing on it, not try to do too much and hit a nice line drive to the opposite way.
“I think, like the majority of our hitters right now, we’re expanding and we’re trying to really drive the ball instead of just letting the at-bat happen and being short to the ball, shrinking our strike zone a little bit. Guys that are struggling with command, not helping them out. Just a little bit of a funk that way.
The easing of it has been minimal, but it exists. The Orioles fanned 10 times last night to end their streak of 13 or more at five games in a row - a major league record.
“I think once a few guys start to get hot a little bit and start to walk,” Hyde said. “I think we can understand how to walk. DJ Stewart, that was nice to see, drawing a base on balls. (Maikel) Franco a couple times. That was a positive for me. Just let game come to us instead of trying to do too much.”
Galvis is one of the veterans on the team. Hyde is more likely to approach a younger hitter, such as rookie Ryan Mountcastle, and warn against trying to do too much.
“Guys want to get off to a good start and they want to contribute right away, and you want to see a good number up there on the scoreboard when you look at your batting average or your OPS,” Hyde said.
“It’s such a small sample and I think veteran players understand that more. Guys who have been around the league understand that more. I just feel like we are helping the pitcher out too much and too often. We’ve been facing some very good pitchers, so give the pitching some credit, guys that we have faced. However, I believe that we’re going to start shrinking the strike zone a little bit, not try to do so much every at-bat, just take better at-bats.”
“You saw Santander last night, hits four balls on the nose. Unlucky three times. Those are good at-bats, that’s more what he looks like. And I think you’re going to see that up and down the order,” Hyde said.
“You see a lot of frustration right now offensively, and a couple guys rolling a couple good games together, I think that will alleviate a lot of stress and pressure that they’re putting on themselves.”