Orioles left-hander Bruce Zimmerman didn’t miss several places against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, except for a change left over the strike zone to start the seventh inning. This is how he has been throughout the season, giving the Orioles a chance to take the mound every now and then.
He did it again on Saturday, making two earned runs in his six-plus innings. But as the Orioles lineup continued an anemic stretch in the first two games of this series in Detroit, chance fell by the wayside, with Zimmerman at a loss when he supplied an outing worthy of more.
A 3–0 loss to the Orioles ensured a series defeat, their offense a whisper that could not keep up with the Tigers, even though Detroit’s batsmen hardly roared.
Three-time Orioles (14–20) batsmen Anthony Bambum and Trey Mancini reached base with one or less in the third, fourth and fifth innings after running from Tyler Nevin on the first day of Baltimore. Each time, those runners were wiped out by double plays. And when Mancini singled out to take the ninth-place lead, a sharp-hitting grounder from Anthony Santander (106.3 mph) turned into fourth.
Baltimore could not push a runner into the scoring position until the seventh inning, when a grounder from Ramon Ureas ate third baseman Jammer Candelario and was injured for a double in shallow left field. But still, a pop up by Rugged Odor and Nevin Strike put an end to that threat.
It continued a disappointing offensive from Friday night, when the Orioles hit 1-for-12 with runners in the scoring position and trapped 14 runners in a 4-2 loss. On Saturday, there were fewer runners to straddle, with an early departure for right-hander Michael Pineda.
After a rocket from Ureas hit Pineda’s forearm, the 33-year-old starter was out in the second inning with a right arm injury just one. This set up an unexpected bullpen day for the Tigers, but the following pitchers blew through the Baltimore order – five relievers covered the remaining 7 2/3 innings, making only four hits.
Some bad luck came. Twice Mancini swung the balls into deep right field, allowing his bat to exceed .770 with an expected batting average of over 100 mph. Both were caught just shying away from the fence. Eight of the top 12 hardest-hitting balls were from Baltimore batsmen, per statcast, yet seven of them resulted in dismissals.
There is another side to it, however, which revolves around the absence of injured starters Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays. Without those two bats in the middle of the lineup, the Orioles lack their firepower, something that began to show this month after April 1 in which Baltimore scored 62, the second lowest among the majors. .
Injuries to Hayes and Mountcastle pushed Urea into the cleanup hole for the first time in his career, perhaps the most obvious sign that there were some places for manager Brandon Hyde. And it led to a poor offensive performance, lacking any support for another fruitful start from Zimmerman.
around the horn
>> After throwing two scoreless innings and recording two strikeouts in his major league debut on Friday, right-hander Denny Reyes was selected for Triple-A Norfolk. In his place, the Orioles recalled outfielder Ryan McKenna, adding another bat to the bench to cover Hayes and Mountcastle’s absence.
>> Left-hander Paul Fry, who was picked up for Triple-A Norfolk earlier this week, was named for Saturday’s assignment, removing him from the 40-man roster. Baltimore claimed an exemption from the Pittsburgh Pirates to right-hander Beau Sulcer and selected Sulsar – brother of former Oriole Cole Sulcer – to Triple-A.
This story will be updated.
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