Lowther tossed a scoreless ninth inning in his debut on April 25 against the Athletics at Camden Yards. The No. 11 prospect in the system per MLBPipeline.com was optioned and joined the Orioles for their West Coast trip.
A start is needed tonight with Bruce Zimmermann optioned, and Lowther gets the assignment, with a spot cleared on the roster last night. The Orioles optioned reliever Isaac Mattson to Triple-A Norfolk following his major league debut.
“I’m going to let him go,” manager Brandon Hyde said on his Zoom call. “He’s built up and ready to pitch. Looking forward to watching his first major league start. Encouraged by the inning he threw against Oakland, and this is a guy who’s always had good command. A little different at the major league level, but hoping he has his fastball command tonight and utilizes that good changeup and breaking ball.
“We had other possibilities, but it kind of lined up with allowing Zac to make this start with, one, how he threw when he was here before, as well as the way his bullpens and with the rotation was kind of set up.”
Trey Mancini, playing first base tonight, has nine RBIs this month and leads the team with 26. He grounded into his first double play last night since April 15.
Austin Hays, in left field, is batting .303 (10-for-33) over his last eight games, including three doubles, two home runs, five RBIs, three walks and six runs scored.
Shortstop Freddy Galvis is 9-for-26 (.346) with three doubles, one home run and four RBIs during his eight-game hitting streak.
Ryan Mountcastle, who’s the designated hitter tonight, homered yesterday for the first time since April 8 and registered his first three-hit game of the season. He’s batting .221/.250/.327 with 36 strikeouts in 120 plate appearances.
“Last year was a success, in my eyes, and obviously the start of this year hasn’t gone the way I want, but I know I can play in this league, and just staying confident throughout all these games is a key for success, for sure,” Mountcastle said this afternoon in a Zoom call.
“Usually, it’s that second year once they figure you out and your weaknesses and stuff and they’re going to exploit them. And it’s all about change. I have to change the way I think, the way maybe the way I swing sometimes, try to adapt to the situation and try to get better from it.”
Said Hyde: “I was encouraged last night,” Hyde said. “When you take a 100 mph fastball down and in, able to hit the ball to right-center the way he did, to me that means he’s moving to the baseball the right way. Even the two-strike jam single, I like seeing that, too, a guy being able to stay on the baseball, fight through and not pull off.
“Ryan, for me, has just been quick off the ball, like a lot of our guys, honestly. A little too quick off the ball at times, trying to generate stuff to the pull side.”
The Orioles have hit at least one home run in their last eight games and 11 total.
Red Sox right-hander Garrett Richards has posted a 4.40 ERA and 1.500 WHIP in six starts and he’s averaging 4.4 walks and 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s surrendered only three home runs in 28 2/3 innings.
Richards’ first two starts came against the Orioles. He’s allowed eight runs and 10 hits in seven innings. Mancini and Anthony Santander hit back-to-back home runs off Richards in an April 10 game at Camden Yards.
The Red Sox are 20-10 since the Orioles swept them in a season-opening three-game series, and they possess the best record in baseball.
For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Austin Hays LF
Trey Mancini 1B
DJ Stewart RF
Ryan Mountcastle DH
Freddy Galvis SS
Maikel Franco 3B
Chance Sisco C
Rio Ruiz 2B
Zac Lowther LHP
For the Red Sox
Michael Chavis 2B
Alex Verdugo CF
J.D. Martinez DH
Xander Bogaerts SS
Rafael Devers 3B
Christian Vázquez C
Marwin Gonzalez LF
Hunter Renfroe RF
Bobby Dalbec 1B
Garrett Richards RHP