Austin Hays is on the injured list again with a strained hamstring. Ryan Mountcastle is day-to-day with a bruised hand. And now there’s Trey Mancini, drilled on the right elbow tonight and unable to stay in the game after making a couple of throws across the infield in the bottom of the first inning.
Aren’t the losses bringing enough pain? How much more are the Orioles supposed to endure?
Initial X-rays and an exam showed no signs of a fracture, and Mancini seemed to have escaped with only a bruise, though there could be further testing. The only real piece of good news coming to a team that now has lost 10 games in a row and 17 of 19.
Tanner Scott inherited two runners from Dillon Tate with two outs in the sixth inning and Billy Hamilton singled on an 0-2 pitch to break a tie and point the White Sox toward a 5-1 victory at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Freddy Galvis knotted the score in the fourth inning with his seventh home run, on a two-strike curveball, but the Orioles kept failing with runners in scoring position and fell to 17-33. Their road record, once a source of pride and curiosity, is down to 11-15.
Tate, reinstated today from the injured list, retired the first two batters before a single and walk brought manager Brandon Hyde out of the dugout.
The White Sox tacked on three runs against César Valdez in the seventh, the veteran right-hander no longer held back for a possible save situation. He’s been scored upon in four of his last six appearances and his ERA is up to 5.30.
Former Orioles minor leaguer Yermín Mercedes, who had a two-run single off Valdez, led off the second inning by homering on Bruce Zimmermann’s 3-0 fastball to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. And it wasn’t cheap, the ball traveling 427 feet with a 116.8 exit velocity, per Statcast.
Zimmermann didn’t surrender another run and completed five innings, scattering six hits, walking one batter and striking out six. He threw 82 pitches, 49 for strikes.
“Just mixing really well,” Zimmermann said on his Zoom call. “Not really going fastball in fastball counts and mixing when we needed to. I was able to attack the strike zone most of the night. I also felt I had pretty good command of all four of my pitches, and when that happens usually good things happen.”
The Mercedes homer was his first since May 17 against a Twins position player on a 3-0 count in a blowout win, which infuriated White Sox manager Tony La Russa.
The Orioles were put in a bad mood in the top of the first inning.
Mancini was hit while trying to turn away from the fastball and eventually took his base, flexing the arm, after head athletic trainer Brian Ebel attended to him. But he couldn’t stay on the field, with Pat Valaika replacing him, and his 50th game of the season was over after a 20-minute rain delay and four pitches.
“It’s tough,” Zimmermann said. “It was a very silent bullpen when we saw that happen. Obviously, Trey is the leader on this team and a sparkplug for us on offense, as well. I talked to him a little bit in the clubhouse when I came in. He’s in good spirits and hopefully it’s nothing more than a contusion and he gets back on the playing field as soon as possible because he’s such an integral part of this team and a key to our offense and just the lifeline of this team.”
Cedric Mullins led off with a single, giving him 17 first-inning hits that lead the majors. Mancini pushed Mullins to second, though not how he wanted, and the Orioles stranded two runners.
Mancini is batting .278 with 11 home runs, 42 RBIs that rank second in the majors and an .876 OPS. The undisputed clubhouse leader, as well as leader in numerous offensive categories.
Asked what went through his mind when Mancini was hit, Hyde said, “Worried sick, hope he’s OK.”
“As of right now he’s not undergoing any more testing,” said Hyde, whose club struck out 16 times. “We are going to see how he feels tomorrow. I’m sure it’s going to be extremely sore. He got him in a tender spot there by the elbow.”
Zimmermann put the first two runners on base in the fifth and Yasmani Grandal grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Yoán Moncada lined to Ryan McKenna.
Anthony Santander extended his hitting streak to nine games with a leadoff single in the sixth, Maikel Franco singled and Cease retired the next three batters to leave the Orioles 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Cease struck out 10 batters in six innings and threw 111 pitches.
Santander doubled with one out in the eighth and the Orioles became 0-for-10 with RISP. Stevie Wilkerson was hit by a pitch in the ninth and advanced on a wild pitch, Chance Sisco struck out for the fourth time and McKenna fanned to make the Orioles 0-for-12.
“I thought we played solid defensively but we didn’t do much offensively,” Hyde said. “Tough to win when you score one run and get five hits.
“We’re having a tough time scoring runs at times, and right now we’re finding out about our players and we’re facing real good competition and struggling offensively some nights. It is what it is right now.
“I don’t have a special sauce to fix it. We’ve just got to start taking better at-bats, guys have got to start swinging the bat a little bit.”
Brandon Waddell made his Orioles debut in the eighth, an inning with Triple-A Norfolk on May 21 his only activity since May 4 with the Twins, and didn’t allow a run or hit. He walked a batter.
The Orioles were back in Chicago for the first time since 2019, when they lost two of three games.
Swept by a Minnesota team that began the series with an identical record, tied for worst in the majors, the Orioles tried to end their losing streak tonight against a team sitting in first place in the American League Central. Rebuilds are supposed to force teams to the bottom of the standings, but they don’t have to like or easily accept it.
“Losing, whether you’re rebuilding or whether you’re trying to contend, is not fun and it’s frustrating, especially the amount of games that we’ve been in,” Hyde said earlier in the day. “Either we haven’t held leads or come a run or two short offensively with opportunities. It’s not easy to stomach every night. You talk about silver linings or positives that come out of games, I mean, there are, but the losses hurt and you want to win some games and have your clubhouse feel better.
“To keep the great environment that we feel like we have, we want to win some games to have guys feel positive, and hopefully we can get back to winning some games here shortly.”