The short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds have the best team ERA in the 14-team New York-Penn League. Their strong pitching perhaps was never more evident than last night, when three pitchers combined on the first no-hitter in team history.
Right-hander Jake Lyons got the start and went the first five innings on 61 pitches at Vermont, with one walk and five strikeouts. Right-hander James Ryan pitched the next three innings with three strikeouts and right-hander Kyle Martin struck out the side in the last of the ninth as Aberdeen won 7-0.
All three pitchers joined the organization just this year. Lyons, 20, was the Orioles’ 22nd-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State. He is 1-3 with a 3.27 ERA for Aberdeen. Over 22 innings he has walked just two and fanned 27.
Ryan, not selected in this year’s draft, signed as a free agent out of Saint Katherine, in California. In 12 1/3 innings he has allowed just one unearned run.
Martin was selected in round 15 out of Fordham. He is 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 15 innings for the IronBirds.
Lyons was making just his third start, and in the end was part of the first-ever no-hitter in Aberdeen history, which dates to the 2002 season.
“It was awesome,” Lyons said last night on the “O’s Xtra” postgame show on MASN. “In the eighth inning, I was like, ‘This could actually happen.’ Kyle closed it out and everyone just went wild. At first we were all speechless. It was just a great time to be out there. We celebrated and then ate some pizza.”
Orioles No. 1 pick Adley Rutschman caught the no-hitter.
“He was awesome to throw to. Great pitch selection and he knew what I wanted to do. He is always excellent back there,” said Lyons.
Only two Vermont runners reached base, one on a walk in the third and one on an error in the last of the sixth.
IronBirds broadcaster Michael Lehr was a guest on my “Extra Innings” radio show last night on 105.7 The Fan. He told me that two key defensive plays helped keep the no-no intact. First baseman Andrew Daschbach snared a liner that was hit hard in the fifth. An inning later, shortstop Joseph Ortiz, the O’s 2019 fourth-round pick, ranged to his left up the middle to make a nice play, throwing out a runner from the outfield grass on the right side of second base.
Daschbach, a round 11 draft pick, also hit a two-run homer. Aberdeen also got a solo homer from Toby Welk, the club’s round 21 pick, who had four hits, including two doubles and a triple. He drove in two and is batting .354. O’s competitive balance Round B pick Kyle Stowers, taken No. 71 overall in June, also homered. So 2019 draft picks were all over this game for Aberdeen and have been a big part of the club’s solid season.
Aberdeen is chasing a playoff spot. At 31-26, the IronBirds are 3 1/2 games out of first in their division and two games back in the wild-card race. Aberdeen has started a six-game road trip with 11-0 and 7-0 wins in Burlington, Vermont. The IronBirds return home to host Vermont for a series starting Saturday night at Ripken Stadium.
O’s notes: The Orioles’ losing streak to the New York Yankees reached 14 games as they lost both ends of Monday’s doubleheader, by 8-5 and 11-8 scores. Their offense kept battling back, but their pitchers kept giving up homers - seven in all in the two games.
In going 2-15 versus New York, O’s pitchers have allowed 59 homers and 137 runs against the Yankees. New York has hit 43 homers over its last 17 games against all teams, not just Baltimore.
Gleyber Torres kept tormenting Baltimore pitchers last night in the nightcap. He proved again that if you throw him terrible pitches, he can hit them out. He hit three-run homers in the fifth and sixth innings. This season versus the O’s he is 24-for-58 (.414) with 13 homers and 20 RBIs.
It got so bad that in the eighth inning, with runners on first and second and two outs, manager Brandon Hyde called for an intentional walk. First base was occupied, but he put Torres on rather than risk him getting another fat pitch to hit.
“The Barry Bonds treatment. Obviously, he’s killed us all year. We are supposed to be making better pitches to him or not letting him beat us, and we continue to throw the ball to the middle part of the plate,” said Hyde, who refused to let his staff do that yet again in the eighth inning.
The Orioles, it seems to me, hardly ever pitch Torres inside, never make him move his feet in the box. I’m not talking about throwing at him or hitting him - there is no reason for that - but isn’t it time that he doesn’t just settle comfortably in the box yet again against an Orioles pitcher?