The RISP issues and a look at opening night on the farm

For the Orioles, it has been a recurring problem with their offense: a lack of clutch hits.

This issue showed up again big time in the second game of the Seattle series Tuesday night. The Orioles had the bases loaded and one out in the second inning. They had bases loaded and two outs in the sixth and the same situation in the eighth. The last two times, catcher Chance Sisco grounded out in each instance to end the threat. He went hitless and is now batting .162 with a .414 OPS.

He had company last night as the Orioles went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position after going 0-for-9 on Monday night in those spots. So yeah, 1-for-18 is not getting it done, and the Orioles fall to 2-13 when scoring three runs or fewer.

The homers bailed them out in the eighth inning Monday, but they got just one solo shot last night.

The Orioles are batting just .210 as a team with RISP to rank 28th in the big leagues. And their .580 OPS in such situations is 30th, last in the majors.

“You know, for me, the best teams that hit with runners in scoring position are the teams that really commit to middle of the field and the other way,” manager Brandon Hyde said after the loss. “Our guys, we just have a lot of big swings. And some nights it looks really good and other nights with guys with good stuff it’s tough to drive in runs. You have the whole right side, the whole opposite side of the field open for you. Easier said than done, for sure. But, yeah, I’d just like to see us stay on the baseball a little longer with two strikes and not try to do too much with runners in scoring position. Not try to do too much. Utilize the whole field.”

Right-hander Jorge López again failed to clear the fifth inning, allowing three hits and one run over 4 2/3 innings. Adam Plutko pitched out of a jam in the fifth to keep the game tied 1-1.

“Four really good innings and then the fifth a little bit of a hiccup,” Hyde said. “I’d love to get a lead so that I can try to get him through that fifth. It would be nice. But we’re just not allowing that to happen. But with the full bullpen available, Adam Plutko available, he’s been money for us all year in that kind of situation. Adam did a great job pitching fifth, sixth into the seventh. So, we bridged it, we just didn’t quite finish.”

Trey Mancini went 3-for-5 with a ninth-inning RBI single for his eighth multi-hit game.

Freddy Galvis had a single and reached base three times. He has a season-best seven-game hitting streak.

The Orioles have now had six chances since April 10 to get back to .500 with a win, but they are 0-6 in those games.

They can still win this series and have a winning road trip when John Means (3-0, 1.70 ERA) pitches this afternoon.

For more on how last night’s game got away in the last of the eighth, click here.

Thumbnail image for Rodriguez-Follows-Through-sidebar.jpgOn the farm: Some of the Orioles’ highest-rated prospects had strong debuts last night as the minor league season began on opening night. Pitchers DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez were outstanding, and young shortstop Gunnar Henderson homered in his first at-bat for low Single-A Delmarva.

Hall, the 22-year-old lefty that was the club’s top pick in 2017, had a stunning Double-A debut in Bowie’s rain-delayed 2-1 win at Altoona. The Eastern League couldn’t get to him on night one as Hall fanned 10 with two walks over 4 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits.

Altoona hitters went 2-for-15 against him, and 10 of his 13 outs came via a strikeout. His fastball, per the game announcers, touched 99 mph. He threw 74 pitches, 49 for strikes in an awesome debut.

The game was delayed by rain with Altoona leading 1-0 in the seventh. But when play resumed, Bowie’s JC Escarra homered to produce a 1-1 tie. Then the Baysox took advantage of a throwing error to push across the go-ahead run in the ninth.

Terrin Vavra went 2-for-5 with a double and RBI, and Bowie also got two hits each from Cadyn Grenier, Robert Neustrom and Jaylen Ferguson. In his Double-A debut, catcher Adley Rutschman went 0-for-5 and struck out three times.

Lefty Nick Vespi got the win with three scoreless innings out of the ‘pen, on 31 pitches. He gave up just one hit and fanned four.

Jacksonville beat Triple-A Norfolk 11-5 to spoil the Tides’ opener. Norfolk fell behind 7-0 after just two innings. Right-hander Conner Greene allowed seven runs (six earned) in 1 2/3 innings. Marcos Diplán threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief and right-hander Manny Barreda pitched three scoreless with four strikeouts for Norfolk.

Tyler Nevin went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Seth Mejias-Brean had two hits, including a solo homer for Norfolk, which could not come back after falling behind so big early in the game.

The Tides have lost 13 season openers in a row.

In its first game as a full-season affiliate, high Single-A Aberdeen won 10-1 at Wilmington. In that game, Rodriguez made his debut in high A ball and pitched four scoreless innings with five strikeouts. He allowed just one hit in his 63-pitch outing. Ryan Wilson fanned six over three scoreless frames.

Leading the IronBirds offense, outfielders Johnny Rizer and Kyle Stowers hit two-run homers. Rizer added a double, going 2-for-4. Stowers went 2-for-5 and drove in three, and Joseph Ortiz went 3-for-5 with a triple and RBI.

Single-A Delmarva’s home game with Salem was suspended in the second inning with Salem leading 3-2. Henderson hit a two-run homer to left in the last of the first, scoring Hudson Haskin, who singled.

The suspended game will be resumed today at 5:05 p.m. at Perdue Stadium in Salisbury. After the completion of this game, there will be a second game scheduled for seven innings between the clubs.

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