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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Orioles struggle again with runners in scoring position, cannot support Jordan Lyles in 4-2 loss to Tigers

Orioles struggle again with runners in scoring position, cannot support Jordan Lyles in 4-2 loss to Tigers

Only for good measure, the Orioles were presented with another golden opportunity. Left-hander Gregory Soto came off the bullpen in the ninth inning and faced the first two batsmen, then went on to loaded bases with one out.

And yet, once Soto was replaced by right-hander Will West, Baltimore did what Baltimore had done all night – missed the opportunity.

The Orioles dropped loaded bases in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, a self-destructive trend that resulted in a 4–2 loss in the series opener against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

There was no lack of opportunities for the Orioles (14-19), just a lack of follow-through. Baltimore trapped 14 base runners – second this season, behind 15 trapped on April 15 – and hit 1-for-12 with runners in the scoring position, with strikeouts from Ramon Ureas and Rylan Bannon being the final culprit. Earlier, there was a pop out of Cedric Mullins in the eighth and a strike out by Jorge Matteo in the seventh. He also left two runners on base in the first and second innings.

“They have some good weapons in the bullpen,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Just didn’t get a big hit tonight.”

The anemic offensive did not help right-hander Jordan Liles, who did well until the sixth inning except for damage from designated hitter Miguel Cabrera.

If Friday night’s output from Cabrera wasn’t proof enough, the numbers just beyond the fence in left-center field should provide needed context as to what kind of hitter the 39-year-old still is.

He started the evening against the Orioles on 503 and 3,014 – Cabrera added to the number of home runs and hits during his career. By the end of the night, the Tigers star had turned those numbers up to 504 and 3,016, continuing to rise in Major League Baseball’s record books.

Lyles pitched well for Baltimore for most of his 5 2/3 innings, but as Cabrera has done so often in his career – as those numbers prove – two swings have led to Liles’ night. helped uncover it.

The Orioles needed length from the Liles to come out of a bullpen game against St. Louis, which saw six relievers win 3–2. It’s a role that Liles prides himself on — he didn’t want to leave the game last week, Hyde said, even after pitching in the eighth inning. He sees himself as an innings eater, coming off a 180-frame season in 2021.

“It would have been good for an innings or two,” said Lyles.

Last week, when Lyles began the first game of a Sunday doubleheader, Lyles gave Hyde the expected length of time to ease potential tension on the bullpen before the road trip, leading to two earned runs in 7 1/3 innings.

And in Friday’s series opener, Lyles looked well on his way for another deep outing as he navigated five innings of a one-run ball on 70 pitches. In the last six starts, Orioles starters had run three combined batsmen. But Lyle stepped up as a batsman in each of the first three innings on Friday, and as he worked around the first two, Cabrera’s right-center field double plated Javier Baez in the third.

Lyles settled for the sixth inning, when Cabrera struck again. Liles missed with a slider, and Cabrera shook it in left field, near numbers tracking his Hall of Fame-worthy career in real time. They changed as Cabrera topped the Tigers 2-0 and began Lyles’ sixth.

“Ideally, down and away [with the slider],” Liles said. “It’s just kind of hung middle, middle-in, and one of the best hitters we’ve seen from the right.”

Lyles returned with a strikeout, then a single, double and single to allow two more runs for Detroit. Two out in the sixth, Hyde pulled Lyles on 91 pitches, his offense facing a climb.

Even with home runs on consecutive pitches in the eighth inning from designated hitter Trey Mancini and right fielder Anthony Santander, the Orioles missed prime opportunities, a disappointing end that lacked a big hit.

“We’re pitching well,” Hyde said. “Tonight, we didn’t get the hits on time, or some of them.”

Deny. debut for

The way to the mound on Friday at Comerica Park was long overdue for Denny Reyes. The minor leagues lasted seven seasons, first with the Boston Red Sox organization and then with Baltimore.

But the right-handed batsman received a call from the bullpen on Friday, in which he played two unscored innings and dismissed two batsmen. His favorite part, he said, was bouncing back from a long foul ball to hit Bays.

As a child growing up in the Dominican Republic, she dreamed of such moments. And if Reyes could go back in time and tell his younger self anything after his debut, it would be that those dreams were achievable.

“You made it,” he would say. “you made it.”

No Haze and Mountcastle

When Mullins and Mateo moved up to second and third with one out in the first inning, first baseman Ryan Mountcastle and outfielder Austin Hays would have stepped up to the next plate. Instead, with both dealing injuries that kept them out on Friday and potentially longer, it was Mancini, Santander and Tyler Nevin.

The three of them couldn’t drive in the runners, which was a theme for most of Friday’s walk.

Mountcastle (.258) and Hayes (.235) are the two better hitters of the Orioles in those positions, with the runners in the scoring position in the team being third and fourth. It has been a weak point for the Orioles this season, as they entered Friday. .202 in those positions – the third lowest average in baseball.

With Mountcastle on the injured list and recovering from stitches on his left arm, the Orioles will need to find a way to address their dominant absence. Mancini and Santander, who went one after the other in the eighth, showed power potential, but it was few and far between.

around the horn

>> Mountcastle was added to a 10-day injured list with left-side tension retroactively on Wednesday. Mountcastle said he deals with a shooting pain from his thumb to his forearm when he swings and catches the ball.

>> Hayes missed Friday’s game after receiving stitches from a wound on Thursday. Hayes said the stitches take at least 48 hours to heal and will return once the pain subsides.

>> Triple-A Norfolk fielder Jahmai Jones was placed on the injured list with a swollen right elbow. He was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup and hasn’t played since. Jones is hitting .212 for the Tides this season.


Saturday, 4:10 pm


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