After losing their sixth straight Tuesday in another all-around, head-shaking effort, the Orioles only chance of not being swept by the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon is to beat – or outlast, anyway – stud lefty Chris Sale.
And they’ll have to do it with a guy who has never thrown a big league pitch facing Boston’s powerful lineup.
Not a promising proposition.
Still, the Orioles are at least gonna have a little history going on today at Camden Yards against the Red Sox.
With Andrew Cashner hitting the disabled list Tuesday with a strained lower back, the Orioles are giving today’s starting assignment to 24-year-old right-hander Yefry Ramirez.
I have no idea how well he’ll pitch, but I do know—thanks to baseball-reference.com – that Ramirez will be the first Yefry (he pronounces it like Jeffrey) to ever appear in the majors.
Oh, there have been other pro-baseball-playing Yefrys – four others and a fifth with Yefry as a middle name – but none has made the big jump to the show.
Weather and airline travel permitting, Ramirez will be the bigs’ first Yefry. And chances are he’ll get to face the majors’ only Xander, as in Bogaerts, Boston’s star shortstop.
So, what else is there to know about 6-foot-2, 220-pound Ramirez besides the unusual first name?
Well, the Dominican Republic native was one of several players the Orioles have acquired for international signing bonus slots. They traded slots to the New York Yankees last July 31 for the 24-year-old right-hander, who at the time was 10-3 with a 3.41 ERA in 18 starts at Double-A Trenton.
He was 5-0 with a 3.66 ERA in six starts with Double-A Bowie to finish last year and was named by mlb.com as the Orioles’ 17th best prospect heading into this season.
In 12 starts at Triple-A Norfolk this year, Ramirez is 3-4 with a 4.33 ERA. He’s allowed 53 hits, 20 walks and struck out 63 batters in 60 1/3 innings.
Ramirez was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks as a 17-year-old amateur and spent a year playing the infield, primarily third base with a little bit of first and shortstop thrown in. He hit .169 in 44 games in the Dominican Summer League in 2011 and was switched to the mound the following year.
He was taken by the Yankees’ in 2015 as a Rule 5 minor leaguer. He’s got a good changeup, a low-90s fastball and a 38-30 record in the minors.
“This guy’s pretty athletic. Hard worker, made some strides. He’s had a history of winning just about everywhere he’s been” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s been good this year down there (in Triple-A), he’s been real good. And then he’s had some challenges like a lot of young pitchers. A young guy. But I like the fact that winning’s kind of followed him around. He’s learning a lot, if you think about his experience level as a pitcher when he started out as a position player.”
Sure, the Red Sox are starting the perennial Cy Young candidate Sale for a likely sweep.
But the Orioles are making a little, first-name, baseball history.