ANAHEIM, Calif. - In explaining the Orioles latest roster moves - Rio Ruiz was optioned to Triple-A last night and today the club added Jace Peterson from Norfolk - manager Brandon Hyde said this was much more about the player coming then going.
“It was more about getting Jace here,” said Hyde. “Jace had a really nice year in Triple-A and is going to add some versatility to our club. Can play middle infield, third base as well as corner outfield. He’s earned it. He has really swung the bat well in Norfolk.
“Rio did a nice job, especially defensively. We talked about a few things for him to work on offensively. He knows that. He’ll be back up here at some point. It was more about getting Jace here. A bat with versatility and anytime you can have versatility, it’s for the better.”
Peterson was batting .313/.398/.512 in 90 games for the Tides and was batting .420 in 14 games in July. He hit .398 against left-handed pitching and .279 against right-handers. He opted out of his O’s minor league contract July 16, but three days later resigned with the club and six days after that is back in the majors.
As for Ruiz, he was batting .238/.306/.335 for the Orioles but was hitting .326 over his last 18 games.
“I wouldn’t say that he was struggling offensively but there are things he could definitely improve on,” Hyde said. “And going down to Norfolk and getting every day at bats against right-handed and left-handed pitching is going to help him. But this was also more about Jace and Jace playing really well down there. And kind of our need of adding some versatility to our club. Love how Jace swung the bat down there.”
And this gives Ruiz a chance to get regular at-bats and work on his offense.
“I think he could (develop with more power). I felt like in spring training there was a little bit more line drive in there and pull power would show up on occasion. But yeah, I just think that more consistent solid contact (is needed). Just getting more at-bats. He didn’t play the last couple of games. Wasn’t playing much against left-handed pitching. So to go down there and get every day reps will be good,” the skipper said.
Hyde also explained the reason for the change in starting pitchers tonight. Right-hander Tom Eshelman was listed to start until last night when the Orioles switched to Jimmy Yacabonis who will pitch as an opener tonight.
“It’s a primarily right-handed lineup,” said Hyde. “And kind of similar to the Oakland start out there. Jimmy pitched real well and we’ll give him another opportunity to follow that lead and Eshelman will more than likely follow him.”
Finally, Baseball America came out with its minor league organization rankings for midseason today and the Orioles jumped from No. 22 in their winter ranking to No. 8 now. This is the first time for the O’s in the BA top 10 since entering the 2010 season at No. 8. They were also No. 8 entering the 1989 and 1994 seasons. BA began publishing these rankings in 1984.
“To get recognized as a top 10 organization talent-wise in the system is fantastic,” Hyde said. “We are where we are up here right now but we’re excited about the guys that have been mentioned. Obviously, when you get ranked like that a lot of players are doing some good things. Especially our pitchers down in Double-A, High-A, A ball. What they have done and obviously adding Rutschman helps. So yeah there are some good things going on.”
Angels get the lead: Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead in the home first against Yacabonis. Mike Trout doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Justin Upton’s sac fly.
Tied up: Anthony Santander stays hot tonight. His RBI single in the fourth was his 10th RBI in eight games and it’s a 1-1 game.
Now O’s lead: The Orioles used three singles to get a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Renato Núñez drove in his 58th run. Right-hander Tom Eshelman replaced Yacabonis to start the third and has pitched out of two big jams in the third and fourth.
All tied up once again: In the bottom of the seventh, Kole Calhoun hit a bases-loaded double to center that scored all three runs to give the Angels a 4-2 lead. The Orioles then came back in the eighth to the game up after a sacrifice fly from Dwight Smith Jr. and an RBI ground-rule double by Stevie Wilkerson.
With two down in the bottom of the eighth with the potential go-ahead run on third for the Angels, right-hander Mychal Givens got Trout to strike out looking on a 94 mph fastball to end the inning.
Free baseball: In the top of the ninth, Trey Mancini hit his 23rd home run of the year to give the O’s a 5-4 lead. Givens couldn’t hold onto the lead in the bottom half though. After striking out Shohei Ohtani with a changeup, pinch-hitter Brian Goodwin hit a game-tying home run to right field.
We’re now in the bottom of the 11th inning with a 5-5 score.
A second seventh-inning stretch: Heading to the home half of the 14th inning, there was a second seventh-inning stretch at Angel Stadium. Now in the top of the 15th, still 5-5.
Orioles take the lead in the 15th: Peterson hit a two-RBI single in the top of the 15th to score Smith and Jonathan Villar. Peterson then stole second base and scored on Hanser Alberto’s single up the middle. Heading to the bottom half, the Orioles are trying to protect an 8-5 lead.
And it’s all tied up again: Trout hit a game-tying double off Tanner Scott in the bottom of the 15th. The Angels tried to score the winning run on the double, but David Fletcher was thrown out at home plate. It is now 8-8 in the 16th inning of a game that has gone beyond the six-hour mark.
Orioles have another lead: Villar hit a two-run shot to right field to give the Orioles a 10-8 lead in the 16th. Wilkerson is moving from center field to the mound to try for the save.