The Orioles will be without their usual left side of the infield, at least at the start, when they take the field tonight for Game 1 of a three-game series at Oakland. Neither Maikel Franco, who has made 23 starts at third base, nor Freddy Galvis, who has made 22 at shortstop, are in tonight’s lineup for the series opener.
Galvis has missed the last three games and has not played since Monday night when he suffered a sore left adductor/groin when running out a double. Franco had started every game to date, with also two starts as the designated hitter.
“Just got a little bit of bumps and bruises,” manager Brandon Hyde said of Franco in his pregame Zoom session with reporters. “Hasn’t had a day off yet. Just woke up a little bit sore. So he’ll be available off the bench today. I’ve been looking for a day to kind of give everybody. Franco has played every inning so far. We all felt like today was the right day to give him a breather.”
Franco is batting .242/.308/.400 with three homers and his 17 RBIs are tied with Trey Mancini for the team lead.
When asked if anything is more sore for Franco, Hyde said “lower back.”
Galvis played in just the series opener against the Yankees, leaving that game early. For the season, he is batting .264/.321/.458/.779 with six doubles, a triple, two homers and six RBIs. That OPS is the second-best on the Orioles behind Cedric Mullins at .918.
Over his past 10 games, Galvis has hit .394 (13-for-33) with five doubles, a triple, two homers and four RBIs.
“Freddy Galvis ran earlier today. He is participating in full batting practice, doing defensive work. Like to think that he could potentially be available off the bench tonight and be in there in the next couple days,” said Hyde.
While Mancini had three hits yesterday and is batting .375 his last 11 games, another middle of the order hitter is Ryan Mountcastle, who is batting just .184/.217/.276 with 30 strikeouts. But Hyde said he is seeing better signs from Mountcastle at the plate in recent games.
“I think the last few games, the at-bats have improved,” Hyde said. “I was really impressed with that last at-bat he had off (Aroldis) Chapman yesterday (which was a strikeout). It was Chapman throwing, 100, 102 mph and Ryan was staying right with him, was on every pitch. Fouled some tough pitches back. So I think that that shows you that his confidence is growing in the batter’s box.
“I think, when we know that Ryan is going to be right is when we see him start laying off the breaking balls away and the breaking balls for balls down. Not chasing the elevated fastball. You know, Mike Fiers tonight is an elevated fastball guy. It’s not the high velo, but he does pitch up, down. So Ryan has to push him down a little bit and get him in the strike zone. I have been encouraged by the swings the last few days. The base hit to right yesterday also. So swinging the bat much better.”
The Orioles are making a West Coast swing for the first time since 2019. This season, the club has been a winning one on the road with a record of 7-4 away from Oriole Park.
“I like road trips,” said Hyde. “For me, in a normal year, this is when teams bond and this is when guys get together away from - it’s always great to be home and you have your home routine, but a lot of times, on the road is where you know your team really kind of gets together. And the relationship is formed easier because you’re in a hotel together, you’re going to go out and eat and all those things you do on the road.
“But you know this year is a little bit different also still. We’re still not full go and we’re still following protocols. The six-hour plane ride is not super easy, but it is nice to be in a place you haven’t been in a while and looking forward to our first normal road trip in a long time.”
West Coast baseball Means no sleep. pic.twitter.com/XRIEs08AbY-- Baltimore Orioles 😷 (@Orioles) April 30, 2021