BALTIMORE—The Bowie Baysox, who began the season with a 7-23 record, are in the Eastern League Championship Series. The Baysox beat the Harrisburg Senators three games to one in the best-of-five Western Division series and face the Trenton Thunder, who swept Reading.
The best-of-five championship series begins Tuesday in Trenton, New Jersey. The second game is Wednesday, and the third, and, if necessary, fourth and fifth games are at Prince George’s Stadium Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Orioles reliever Dillon Tate, who spent most of the season with the Baysox, attended Bowie’s Game 1 win over Harrisburg.
“It all started with one guy playing well, and it just kind of carried over to the next guy wanting to produce,” Tate said of Bowie’s hot streak.
“I think guys caught a little bit of momentum, and then they kept that up. Slowly, one after another, guys just started following suit. Then the next thing you know, we were hot — really, really hot.”
Tate’s move to the bullpen helped the Baysox.
“It was surprising, honestly, because we were slowly starting to see ourselves creeping up,” Tate said. “We were happy to just get close to .500 at one point. We surpassed that, and guys just wanted more, and we kept going and going and going.”
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde is happy to see the Baysox make it to the championship series.
“It’s exciting for one of our teams with some prospects on it to do well and we hope they continue … I’m pulling for them,” Hyde said.
“To see our prospects be a part of winning clubs is always positive. You want to see them do well individually, but also being a part of winning clubs says a lot about the organization. We’re doing things well. In Bowie, for example, we’re pitching really well. Throughout our system, we’re pitching really well.”
Tate, Mychal Givens and Anthony Santander attended last Wednesday’s game. It wasn’t strange for Tate to go back.
“No, not at all,” he said. “I’ve been with those guys the majority of the year. I just felt like I really needed to go out there and show my support because I’m still a part of that team, too. I think it was good that I went out there.”
In July 2018, Tate was playing with Trenton when he was traded from the New York Yankees to the Orioles along with Cody Carroll and Josh Rogers for Zack Britton.
Tate isn’t looking forward to the series more because the Baysox are playing the Thunder.
“Not so much that they’re playing Trenton,” he said. “Just for the fact where we started. That’s the biggest thing, and I think Trenton is more of the cherry on top, getting that win and taking home the championship. I’m always rooting for my guys. I definitely want Bowie to take it home.”
Orioles to face Dodgers: The Orioles play their final interleague series of the season when the Los Angeles Dodgers come to Baltimore for three games beginning Tuesday.
The Dodgers, who have the best record in the National League, have a magic number of two to clinch the NL West.
“I still follow the National League,” Hyde said. “I still watch all the highlights and read up on how things are going and see how well they’re doing.
“It’s a really tough team to play against. They have really good starting pitching … They’ve always mixed and matched well out of the bullpen, and their lineup is incredibly athletic. They can do so many things. They have so many moveable parts.
“They have speed. They have huge power, a lot of versatile guys. It’s a tough team to play against.”
Ty Blach faces Walker Buehler on Tuesday. John Means and Dylan Bundy face Ross Stripling and Rich Hill, who pitched for the Orioles in 2007, Wednesday and Thursday.
Hyde chose the left-handed Blach, who faced the Dodgers when the was with the San Francisco Giants. Blach is 4-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 13 games against Los Angeles.
“The bottom line is we wanted to push Means and Bundy and give them an extra day,” Hyde said.
Clayton Kershaw, who is not scheduled to pitch in this series, has never faced the Orioles.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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