A couple of hours before they took the field last night for Triple-A Norfolk, Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said some nice things about catcher Chance Sisco and outfielder DJ Stewart. He indicated the Orioles are watching them closely, have noticed the strong seasons they are having on the farm and could be calling them up. Maybe sooner than later.
Then last night, that duo went out and combined for five of Norfolk’s eight hits in an 8-4 loss to Durham at Harbor Park.
Stewart went 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs. The O’s first-round pick in 2015 out of Florida State, Stewart is batting .299/.409/.582 in 39 games with 10 doubles, two triples, eight homers, 33 RBIs and an OPS of .991. Stewart has walked more than he has struck out, 25 to 23 times.
Stewart is batting .460 (23-for-50) through 15 games in May, has an International League-leading 25 RBIs this month and has recorded more three-hit games (five) than hitless games (three) in May.
Sisco went 2-for-3 with an RBI. In 35 games, he is batting .268/.380/.488 with seven doubles, seven homers, 26 RBIs and an OPS of .868.
“Sisco’s doing really well down there, DJ Stewart is doing really well down there,” said Elias. “And that’s very much on our radar right now. In DJ Stewart’s case, we have two corner outfielders up here in (Trey) Mancini and (Dwight) Smith (Jr.), who are doing great, so it’s just hard to find an easy way to get him here. But we’d love to have him join this team, and I’m hopeful we can find a way to do that on the sooner side.
“As I’ve said all along, Sisco’s someone that we’re counting on and we care a lot about, and we want to get him up here at the right time. Maybe that soon, too. We’ll just have to navigate the next couple of days or weeks or whatever it is and see what happens.”
Those are promising comments for that duo and for fans who want to see some of the top prospects start to make their way to Baltimore.
At the same time, it may take a bit longer for Ryan Mountcastle to get here. But he’s having a strong year too for the Tides. The 22-year-old Mountcastle is batting .321/.348/.530 with 12 doubles, a triple, seven homers, 31 RBIs and an OPS of .878.
“I categorize Ryan a little differently,” said Elias. “He hasn’t played in the majors yet, he’s extremely young for Triple-A and, really, he’s probably at the stage in the Norfolk schedule where his opponents aren’t seeing him for repeat time. He’s not going through the league the second time yet. He’s got a lot of work to do defensively still at third, or even at first, and we might even start taking a look at him in the outfield when we get opportunities. So there’s a lot more development for a guy like him and we’re erring very carefully on the side of his development. But it’s pretty soon for him at Triple-A.”
The Orioles have to make sound decisions on these three and other prospects for this season and the long-term future. They need to bring them here when they are ready to have success and the roster opens up to allow them to come and play and not sit the bench. They’d like them to come up and stay up and not be on the Norfolk-Baltimore shuttle and have a chance for real major league success.
It will be exciting for fans around Birdland when players like Stewart and Sisco get back here and Mountcastle arrives for the first time. This will be another phase in the rebuilding as they take a good, hard look at some homegrown talent.
O’s try to avoid sweep: The Orioles have just one win in their last nine games and New York has just one loss in its last nine after the Yankees beat the O’s 7-5 last night. Right-hander Dan Straily is now 1-4 with a 9.09 ERA. You have to wonder if the club can keep him in the rotation at this point after he allowed six runs in four innings. Over his last four starts, he has allowed 21 runs in 16 innings. In six home starts, he has allowed 30 earned runs and 13 homers in 22 1/3 innings. Straily tied a career high by allowing four homers last night. The last time he did that was Aug. 29, 2016 with Oakland against the Angels.
Infielder Hanser Alberto had an RBI double last night. Alberto is 7-for-13 with a homer and four RBIs in this series. He is batting .450 (9-for-20) during a five-game hitting streak. Alberto is batting .433 (13-for-30) versus the Yankees.
Renato Núñez hit homer No. 9 last night. He also walked and was hit by a pitch. In 11 games this year against New York, he’s batting .303 (10-for-33) with four homers, eight runs and nine RBIs. In 19 career games against the Yankees, he’s hitting .344 (22-for-64).
The Yankees are 9-2 against the Orioles for the season and have won eight in a row against Baltimore. New York has won 11 in a row at Camden Yards since a loss on July 10, 2018. The Yankees are 6-0 in Baltimore this season, scoring 57 runs with 25 homers.
The Orioles’ five-game losing streak is a season high and they’ve been outscored 28-16 in this series. O’s starting pitchers have given up 18 runs in 15 innings this series.
The Yankees have hit three or more homers in all six games at Camden Yards this year. According to STATS, that is the longest streak by any team at any park in major league history.