Scott force-fed into big situation Tuesday - a stark reminder that Bleier is lost for year (and O'Day unavailable) - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Scott force-fed into big situation Tuesday — a stark reminder that Bleier is lost for year (and O’Day unavailable)

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

WASHINGTON, DC — The Orioles lost a winnable game Tuesday.

You’ve read that before.

They hit three homers — two-run shots by Jace Peterson and Trey Mancini and a solo one by Joey Rickard — and scored seven runs, which is obviously a step in the right direction.

But they also ran into a couple outs on the bases, couldn’t quite make the outstanding defensive play when they needed it and watched a rookie starter experience growing pains in his final inning.

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Tuesday’s 9-7 loss got away from the Orioles, however, in the seventh, when the Washington Nationals scored four times against rookie lefty Tanner Scott and right-hander Mike Wright Jr.

It’s impossible to look at that inning and not think a few days ago it would have been Richard Bleier’s real estate. But the reliable left-hander underwent season-ending surgery on his left lat Tuesday morning in New Jersey and, if all goes well, may be able to pitch again next spring.

The seventh on Tuesday also would have been a spot for side-armer Darren O’Day, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said post-game that O’Day, who hasn’t pitched since Friday, was unavailable due to a hamstring issue suffered in his last outing.

“He’s out throwing a bullpen, see what we are going to do,” Showalter said about O’Day after the game. “He’s got some nagging hamstring (tightness), he’s had since the last time he’s pitched. This is the fourth day he’s not available. He’s real close and I’m hoping we get good news from his throwing down there when (pitching coach Roger McDowell) comes in.”

O’Day will undoubtedly be back fairly soon. But the 31-year-old Bleier won’t be, and he is the kind of guy that’s missed most when he is gone.

That happened Tuesday with the Orioles holding onto a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh.

The 23-year-old Scott, who throws his blazing fastball about 10 miles harder than Bleier, got the call.

The first batter of the inning, veteran Adam Eaton, dropped a hard bunt toward second that Jonathan Schoop couldn’t bare-hand on the run. It happens.

Then scalding-hot rookie Juan Soto singled up the middle. A sharp hit, but they happen.

Then Anthony Rendon smoked a double to the left-center gap and two scored. The lead turned into a deficit in an eye-blink. Scott got Bryce Harper to ground out and then Wright entered. A single, double and another single and the game was basically over.

Scott said he left some pitches in the middle of the plate – and it’s something he needs to work on.

“My job is just to get lefties out and whoever’s in the box,” Scott said. “I was missing more middle, and ended up giving up a couple of runs and putting us in the losing column, which wasn’t ideal. But you live, and you learn.”

That’s what this season is now. A learning experience. And that experience has ratcheted up for Scott now that Bleier is lost. These innings will be his on occasion.

“That’s something Tanner is gonna be able to do. He’s got a chance to be a good pitcher,” Showalter said. “Every club, you have injuries and things that happen. It creates another opportunity for somebody. That’s just the way the world works. You can’t make everybody stay healthy. It’s an excuse that we’re gonna refuse to use.”

It’s a situation worth watching as this lost season unfolds — which young guys step up and seize the available opportunities.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. ATCguy

    June 19, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    Interesting game. At this point, I had no problem with Buck leaving Hess in to see if he could work his way out of the mess in the 5th. That’s the only way a manager finds out, and a young player learns / gains experience in those situations. As you said, that’s what this season now is… time to learn. The double steal thing I didn’t get. A few games ago when they weren’t scoring? Sure. But that didn’t seem to be a problem tonight, yet somebody made a call to run themselves right out of the inning. It’s not like either runner really has any speed. The bullpen… well, you hit all the notes there, so nothing else to be said.

    • Dan Connolly

      June 20, 2018 at 1:09 am

      Yeah. What remains of this season should be all about learning — who can do what and who can handle advanced roles.

  2. Dblack2508

    June 19, 2018 at 11:44 pm

    Bliers loss is huge, arguably our best pitcher this season. As for Scott, no need to panic, he is learning on the job. This is the perfect situation to adjust and develop to the pitcher everyone thinks he will be. My worries is he finds himself on the shuttle the rest of the year.

    • Dan Connolly

      June 20, 2018 at 1:11 am

      That’s the thing. If they are serious about the future then guys like Scott and Hess should be here for the rest of the year. Or until it’s obvious they need more time. But not because roster management needs an option-able guy.

  3. Orial

    June 20, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Glad you explained the O’Day injury because I was wondering why he,Brach,Britton didn’t pitch the 7th,8th,9th innings. Seemed like a no brainer. Scott disappointed but needs the experience BUT Wright? It may even get worse before it gets better if that is even possible.

    • Dan Connolly

      June 20, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Buck often doesn’t pitch his best guys when the team is behind. So once Scott lost the lead, Britton and Brach sat. It was only a one- run lead though when Wright cane in.

  4. jimcarter

    June 20, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Yes; Buck would have used Bleier, but he had to expose Scott to a good team on the road in a tough situation. No opportunity to shield yet another player who’s talent level is questionable at the ML level. Being 28.5 games out of first is a good time to see what you have and keep shuffling until you’ve handed out all the auditions. It’s not a good time to protect anyone from a tough spot. The double steal was laughable, given the lack of speed and horrid base running of this team. Management has chosen a squad of lumbering giants and nothing is going to transform them into Dee Gordon types. If any trades are ever made (and I’m doubtful), the operative word is “diversify”. It’s OK if a player can’t hit home runs. Doubles and steals are nice too. It’s also OK if the makeup of the team “looks like” the nine guys in last night’s Yankees lineup.

  5. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    June 20, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Losing Bleier really hurt a bullpen beset by inconsistency and injuries. Tanner Scott is still learning to pitch and will need time – keep sending him out there. Wright needs to go. Make room on the 40 man roster and give Kline a shot.

  6. 54orioles

    June 21, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Just to put a little sunshine in your life I predict that Colby Rasmus will make a big difference. I bet he hits one out tonight.

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