When Orioles right-handed reliever Dillon Tate took the ball in the ninth last night, he pitched for the first time in the majors against the team that drafted him. He faced the Texas Rangers, who selected him No. 4 overall in the 2015 draft out of California-Santa Barbara.
Tate showed them some good stuff. He kept the Orioles down 7-6 with a scoreless 15-pitch inning with two strikeouts. He topped at 95 mph and got three swings and misses on three changeups.
Acquired by the Orioles last July in the Zack Britton trade with the Yankees, Tate has begun to flash some first-round talent. He made his major league debut July 29 at San Diego and last night was his seventh big league game. He is starting to really settle in well.
“It’s been good. It’s been a learning experience and I try to learn something each outing. Trying to take that knowledge into the next one and compete,” said the 25-year-old Tate.
Over his last four games, he’s allowed just one run over 6 1/3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts. Tate has shown that he’s confident but not cocky out there. He has a healthy respect for his opponent. During a pregame interview last night on the Orioles Radio Network, I asked him about his confidence on a big league mound.
“For me, it is a mentality thing,” he said. “Just showing what I can do on the big stage. I think you have to realize you are playing with the best players in the world. And that is one of the most fun things I can do. I enjoy it and love it. I would say that comes from both my mom and my dad. Never wanting me to sell myself short. Just working hard and just respecting other people. I respect everyone else’s craft out here.”
Tate pitched in 22 games on the O’s farm this year with most of them coming at Double-A Bowie. When the Baysox opened the playoffs at home on Wednesday night, Tate was in the park (so were his O’s teammates, Mychal Givens and Anthony Santander). It was important for him to be there.
“It was big for me to be there just because obviously I was a part of that team and they’re in the playoffs now,” said Tate. “They got off to a slow (start). Well, we turned it around. I was part of that team and it was really cool to be a part of that. I just wanted to show my support. Just really proud of those guys.”
Speaking of those Baysox: Bowie beat Harrisburg 7-5 last night to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five Eastern League semifinal series. Bowie will advance with a win on the road today. Bowie’s Anderson Feliz hit two homers in the win - a two-run shot in the first inning and three-run homer in the second. Cedric Mullins went 2-for-4 and scored two runs. Lefty Zac Lowther got the win, allowing one run and five hits over 6 1/3 innings. Cristian Alvarado picked up his second save of the series.
So Bowie can reach the Eastern League championship series with a win today at 3 p.m. in Harrisburg or in a decisive Game 5 tomorrow. This afternoon, lefty Alex Wells (8-6, 2.95 ERA) gets the start for the Baysox.
Tough ending for Delmarva: The season ended last night for the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds when they lost 1-0 to Hickory at home in 10 innings. Delmarva was held to two hits, both by catcher Adley Rutschman. The rest of the lineup went 0-for-25. Starter Gray Fenter threw a great game and fanned a career-high 13 over 6 1/3 scoreless innings. After a team-record 90 wins in the regular season, the Shorebirds were eliminated in two games in this series with a pair of one-run losses. Delmarva sure took the fans of Birdland on a great ride this year.
Here is a full game story last night from Salisbury.