Cedric Mullins brings an 11-game hitting streak into tonight’s game against the Yankees in the Bronx.
Mullins is 17-for-44 (.386) with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, four walks and four stolen bases during his streak. Last night marked his team-leading 33rd multi-hit game of the season. He’s batting .318 (14-for-44) with two doubles, four home runs, five RBIs, three walks, four stolen bases and eight runs scored in 11 games against the Yankees this season.
Left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr., formerly an Orioles Rule 5 pick, was expected to start tonight instead of Gerrit Cole, who tested positive for COVID-19. Mullins is batting .328/.387/.533 against lefties this season. However, the Yankees called up right-hander Luis Gil to make his major league debut.
“He’s just doing everything,” manager Brandon Hyde said on his postgame Zoom call. “He makes catches look easy, makes playing center field look too easy at times. He steals second, he steals third. He’s just doing everything and playing with a ton of confidence.”
Austin Hays is in left field tonight and batting fifth. He’s hitting .311 (32-for-103) with nine doubles, five home runs 18 RBIs and five walks against left-handers this season, which is worth noting because the Yankees pitching staff is loaded with them.
Ryan Mountcastle, the first baseman tonight, has four home runs in his last 10 games. He has at least one RBI in each of his last four games.
Ramón Urías moves up to second in the order. He’s reached base in 13 of his last 14 games since July 17, batting .306 (15-for-49) with two doubles, a home run, 11 RBIs, seven runs and six walks.
Left-hander Alexander Wells is making his third start and fifth appearance. He’s allowed nine runs and 17 hits in 15 1/3 innings, with nine walks and 12 strikeouts.
The Orioles are 10-6 since the All-Star break. They’re 10-10 in their last 20 road games after losing a club-record 20 in a row. They’ve won consecutive games at Yankee Stadium for the first time since March 2019 after losing 12 straight.
Gil, 23, was acquired from the Twins in the Jake Cave trade in March 2018. He’s 12-13 with a 3.06 ERA and 1.325 WHIP in five minor league seasons and has averaged 6.5 hits, 0.5 home runs, 5.4 walks and 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
Anthony Rizzo is just the fourth Yankee in team history with an RBI in his first four games. He joins Don Slaught (five in 1988), Hank Bauer (four in 1948), Bob Seeds (four in 1936) and Joe DiMaggio (four in 1936).
For the Orioles
Cedric Mullins CF
Ramón Urías SS
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Anthony Santander RF
Austin Hays LF
DJ Stewart DH
Pedro Severino C
Maikel Franco 3B
Pat Valaika 2B
Alexander Wells LHP
For the Yankees
DJ LeMahieu 2B
Anthony Rizzo 1B
Aaron Judge RF
Giancarlo Stanton DH
Joey Gallo LF
Gary Sánchez C
Gleyber Torres SS
Rougned Odor 3B
Greg Allen CF
Luis Gil RHP
Mullins is the Orioles’ recipient of the Heart and Hustle Award as voted upon by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. The overall winner will be announced in mid-November.
The award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody its values, spirit and traditions.
Mullins tweeted the following today: “It’s an honor to be selected for the 2021 #HeartandHustle Award!! It’s my goal every day to go out and play hard and to the best of my ability. I am truly grateful that my play and hard work has been recognized by my peers!!”
The Orioles are assigning outfielder Yusniel Diaz to Double-A Bowie on an informal rehab assignment while he continues his recovery from turf toe. Diaz hasn’t played since July 11.
Both Orioles Florida Complex League games were postponed today due to rain.
Update: Hyde said this afternoon that Rule 5 pick Tyler Wells, who threw a batting practice session yesterday, could be reinstated from the injured list Wednesday or after Thursday’s off-day.
“Will be nice to have Tyler pitch in big spots later in the game,” Hyde said.
Richie Martin is on the bench again tonight. Hyde said he doesn’t have a specific plan for Martin.
“Right now he’s a utility player for us,” Hyde said. “We’re in August and our guys are going to get days off. Richie’s going to play in the infield, probably primarily in the middle, and we’ll go from there. ... Right now we’re playing Ramón and Pat (Valaika) for the most part and they’ve been doing a really nice job up the middle. Richie’s going to fit in and use him as a guy to give these guys a day off. Or play well, play him more. We’ll see.”
Mancini is just getting a break tonight. “A little bit of a mental breather,” Hyde said. Nothing wrong with him physically.
Hyde began his Zoom call by congratulating Mullins for being the Orioles’ recipient of the Heart and Hustle Award.
“So well deserved,” Hyde said. “I was reading the explanation of the award and there’s nobody that demonstrates that as well as Cedric does, in my opinion. He’s been wonderful in every way and a great accomplishment being nominated for that award.”