BOWIE, Md. - He began the season as the center fielder for the Orioles and is ending it in center with Double-A Bowie. But with the season about to end on the farm, 24-year-old outfielder Cedric Mullins is finally getting his bat going and maybe that’s the first step to turning around what has been for him a rough 2019 season.
Mullins hit just .094 with the Orioles in 19 games to start the season before he was sent to Triple-A Norfolk on April 22. With the Tides he hit .205 in 66 games and was demoted to Bowie on July 11. He finished the season with the Baysox, batting .271/.341/.402 with 35 runs and 20 steals in 23 tries over 51 games.
Mullins ended the regular season with a seven-game hitting streak, a 16-game on-base streak and batted .324 over the last 10 games as Bowie wrapped up a playoff spot.
Last night, as Bowie lost Game 3 of the Eastern League Championship Series 2-1 to Trenton, he went 2-for-3 with a walk, stolen base and an RBI. His single to right in the fifth tied the game 1-1.
“Cedric put together really good at-bats,” said Bowie manager Buck Britton. “You can see the difference between a guy that has been in the big leagues a little bit. Maybe a little bit more advanced the first at-bat getting a look at the guy. Then he slowed the game down there in an RBI situation and got the line drive in right field to tie it up.”
Mullins is hitting well in the postseason for Bowie. He is 11-for-30 (.367) with nine runs, two doubles, a triple and homer, four RBIs and five steals in seven games.
For Mullins this is providing some momentum as he goes into an offseason where he will continue to work to essentially revive his career for 2020.
“Absolutely. It’s been a confidence builder,” Mullins said. “To play well and continue to play well will be a good thing leading into the offseason.”
He’s been igniting the Bowie lineup at the top of the order and said this season has been one long learning experience of sorts as he tries to make his way back to Baltimore.
“For sure. Going into the offseason, will be breaking down things from square one and building from there,” he said.
On the mound tonight: Right-hander Tyler Herb (4-2, 3.95 ERA) gets the start in tonight’s must-win for Bowie. The Baysox trail 2-1 in the best-of-five Eastern League Championship Series and need to win the next two nights to take home their second league title.
Herb went 4-0 with a 2.14 ERA over his last seven regular season starts. In the first playoff series against Harrisburg in Game 2, he went five innings and gave up six hits and four runs (three earned) on 86 pitches.
So he’s been better lately and Bowie is counting on that holding true tonight.
“I like our chances with Herb,” said Britton. “Veteran guy, been to Triple-A. We’re looking for a good start. For him it’s about location. He’s done a nice job here lately getting ahead establishing that fastball. He’s got a good sinking fastball and that allows him to work in the breaking balls off of that.”
Did Britton have a message for his team tonight?
“Nothing new. You don’t want to put any added pressure on these guys. Listen we lost a lot of games early. You have to play pitch-by-pitch. But no added pressure. Let’s be ourselves and stay aggressive,” he said.
Right-hander Rony Garcia (4-11, 4.44 ERA) goes for Trenton. Garcia is 21 and from the Dominican Republic. He went 2-1 with a 3.73 ERA in August and gave up three runs in 15 innings his last three starts. In the opening playoff series against Reading in Game 2 he threw 3 1/3 scoreless on four hits.
Tonight’s Baysox lineup:
Cedric Mullins CF
Anderson Feliz 2B
Yusniel Diaz RF
Carlos Pérez C
Jesmuel Valentín 3B
Ryan McKenna LF
Mason McCoy SS
Ryan Ripken DH
Preston Palmeiro 1B