Whenever an Orioles pitcher gives up a homer - and they’ve allowed the most in the majors this year - there is always a catcher on the other end waiting for a pitch that never gets to his mitt.
The catcher can be just as frustrated as anyone that the pitch went out and Pedro Severino has been there, done that this year for the Orioles.
“We all feel really bad because we don’t want to miss (the location of) pitches,” he told me recently. “This is the big leagues man, we are making mistakes and players are putting the barrel on the ball. They want to throw the ball where I am putting the glove, I know. And I know we have a lot of talent over here and one day that will change.”
I asked Severino what is going wrong and if it is fixable when a pitcher misses his location?
“It can be anything,” he said. “Sometimes the ball will slip off their fingers. Sometimes they want to try too hard and they miss. Sometimes they open their front shoulder and throw a hanger. They don’t want to miss and we’ve also had some close games without too many homers. You know teams are aggressive. We have seen some young players lately and they are aggressive. We have to be able to take advantage of that.”
The Orioles, and this probably will not surprise you, have been hurt the most by the middle of the order. Opponent No. 3 hitters have an OPS of 1.047 versus the O’s and No. 4 hitters are at 1.035.
Also the club is getting hurt badly when behind in the count. Opponents are slugging .738 on the first pitch of the at-bat, .833 on a 1-0 count and .966 when the count goes to 2-0. On the other hand, O’s pitchers yield just a .269 slugging percentage on a 1-2 count.
Severino said he doesn’t often question the pitch selection and it’s more about pitches finding middle-middle far too often.
“It is more the location and execution. If we can fix that, the game is going to change for us. We have some young talent here, they just need more experience. There are 162 games and we will keep trying to get that W. When we miss our pitches we just have to try and fix it the next day,” said Severino.
Big offense on the farm: Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Bowie both won last night, each team producing 19 hits. Outfielder DJ Stewart continued his recent hitting tear going 4-for-6 with a double and an RBI as Norfolk beat Gwinnett 10-8 to improve to 21-25.
In 18 games in May, Stewart is batting .476/.532/.921 with nine doubles, two triples, five homers, 26 RBIs and an OPS of 1.453. For the season, Stewart is hitting .320/.431/.592 in 42 games with an OPS of 1.023. Chance Sisco added a two-run homer and Jace Peterson drove in three for the Tides.
Bowie beat Erie 19-4. The Baysox got outhomered 3-0 but had eight players drive in two or more runs. Ademar Rifaela drove in three while this group had two RBIs each: Austin Hays, Mason McCoy, T.J. Nichting, Martin Cervenka, Brett Cumberland, Preston Palmeiro and Chris Clare. Hays went 3-for-6 with a double as Bowie won for the 12th time in the last 17 games.
Potomac beat Single-A Frederick 1-0 despite another outstanding outing from right-hander Cody Sedlock. He threw five scoreless on two hits with six strikeouts. Sedlock did not get a decision and has an ERA of 1.44 through eight starts, allowing two runs or less each time. For the year Sedlock has thrown 43 2/3 allowing 20 hits with 14 walks, 41 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.78.
Single-A Delmarva won again, beating Hagerstown 4-0 to improve to 37-10 and open a 4 1/2 game lead atop its division. Ofelky Peralta and Matt De La Rosa teamed on a one-hitter. Peralta gave up the hit over six innings and is now 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA. Seamus Curran homered and drove in two. Cadyn Grenier went hitless but drew a walk and his consecutive games streak reaching base was extended to 20. This was Delmarva’s eighth shutout and seventh caught by Daniel Fajardo, who has a catcher’s ERA of 1.86.
Orioles win to even series: The Baltimore bats produced a season-high 17 hits in Saturday’s 9-6 win in Colorado. The Birds are 16-36 and snapped a seven-game losing streak. They can take the series with a win this afternoon before they head home.
Jonathan Villar’s three-run homer in the fourth gave the Orioles a 7-4 lead. Renato Núñez homered for the fourth straight game and Severino went 4-for-5 and that’s a career-high in hits. Over his past six games, Núñez is batting .450 with five homers and nine RBIs.
Andrew Cashner got the win and with win No. 5 he exceeded his 2018 win total. Right-hander Josh Lucas threw three scoreless to get his first career save. Not bad for a player who was designated for assignment on April 22.