Means finishes excellent rookie season with 12th win; Hays might not play fall ball; Villar steals 40th - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Means finishes excellent rookie season with 12th win; Hays might not play fall ball; Villar steals 40th

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

BOSTON—John Means’ stellar and unexpected rookie season ended Saturday with a win.

Means, who allowed three runs in the first inning, got strong support from the Orioles in their 9-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.

He will finish his first major league season with a 12-11 record and 3.60 ERA. He entered the game tied for ninth among American League pitchers with a 4.5 WAR (wins over replacement).

Means didn’t expect to make the Oriole roster going into spring training. Instead he became their most dependable starter. His 12 wins account for 22.2 percent of the team’s 54 victories.

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“That’s what I was trying to get, and it was this last game,” Means said of his 12th win. “I was trying to get a winning record. That’s something that I want to pride myself on, winning ballgames with this team.”

Those stats make Means a contender for American League Rookie of the Year.

Houston outfielder Yordan Alvarez, who homered against the Orioles in his major league debut and then hit three home runs against them on August 10, is considered the leader.

Means, Chicago outfielder Eloy Jimenez, Cleveland outfielder Oscar Mercado, Tampa Bay infielder Brandon Lowe and Toronto infielder Vladimir Guerrero are also expected to get attention in the voting.

Manager Brandon Hyde thinks that it’s notable for a player on a non-contending team to be considered.

“It’s huge, especially a young player that came out of nowhere that we feel like has a bright future and is going to be with us when we’re a competitive club and competing for a division,” Hyde said.

“It’s an over-.500 pitcher on a team that’s not over. 500. Well below. Just means that he won a lot of games for us and did what he did today.”

Means dismissed the award chatter.

“I don’t think about it,” he said. “Obviously, I see some stuff. I try to just go out there and pitch. My goal at the beginning of the year was to stay here the whole year and Rookie of the Year talk, I don’t know anything about it.”

The Orioles have won the first two games against the Red Sox, and can finish 2019 with their only series sweep on Sunday.

“We’re playing hard and Game 161 and 50 games out, or whatever we are, just continue to compete,” Hyde said. “I’m really excited with how we played today. I thought we played with a ton of energy. I thought we played to win. Everybody’s at-bats were important. Nice to see some of the young bullpen guys come in and have some success.”

In the season’s last game, former Oriole Eduardo Rodriguez goes for his 20th win. The Orioles will start Chandler Shepherd at 3:05 p.m. on Sunday.

If the Orioles win their final game, they’ll avoid the second-worst season in franchise history. Their record is 54-107, and in 1988, when they began 0-21, they finished 54-107 and had one game rained out.

Jonathan Villar doubled on the first pitch against Jhoulys Chacin and two pitches later, DJ Stewart’s fourth home run gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead.

Means allowed a two-run home to Xander Bogaerts in the first followed by one from J.D. Martinez, allowing the Red Sox to lead, 3-2.

Richie Martin’s sixth home run tied the score in the second, and Renato Nunez’s 31st put the Orioles ahead, 4-3, in the third.

The Orioles scored four against Andrew Cashner in the sixth to take an 8-3 lead.

Austin Wynns’ RBI single, Martin’s run-scoring double and RBI singles from Villar and Trey Mancini finished Cashner.

Boston got a run in the bottom of the sixth on Sandy Leon’s RBI single.

The Orioles narrowly averted trouble in the bottom of the seventh when Branden Kline fielded Sam Travis’ bouncer to the mound with runners on first and second with one out.

Kline threw to second, but neither Martin nor Villar covered the bag. With the bases loaded, Brock Holt grounded to Villar, who started a double play, ending the inning.

“It was messed-up communication,” Martin said. “The ball was chopped, and I don’t want to speak for anybody else, but I think that we thought he was going to go to first. But that’s on us, the middle infield. We’ve got to do a better job.”

Mancini’s 35th home run and 96th RBI gave the Orioles a 9-4 lead in the ninth.

Orioles unsure about fall ball for Hays: Hyde said the Orioles had yet to make a decision about Austin Hays’ participation in the Arizona Fall League.

Hays was originally on the Surprise Saguaros’ roster for the AFL season, which began September 18. But when the Orioles found out that Hays could play in the majors and the AFL this season, they decided to bring him up.

The aim was for him to get additional at-bats after an injury-marred season, but after 64 major league at-bats, the Orioles may decide he’s had enough.

Villar steals 40: Villar stole his 40th base in the sixth inning. He’s the ninth Oriole to steal at least 40 and the first to do it since Brian Roberts in 2008.

He’s expected to play in his 162nd game on Sunday.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 28, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Means was spot on when he said … “I was trying to get a winning record. That’s something that I want to pride myself on, winning ballgames with this team.” … That’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Winning? Let’s all think about that this winter.

    But in the meanwhile, how about taking the 3rd tomorrow just to rub the figurative broom in the nose of every Sox fan that took up a seat this year at OPACY? Go Os!!

  2. Camden Brooks

    September 28, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    And here I thought Means was just a “flash in the pan.”

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 28, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      Don’t put words in my mouth.
      If you’re referring to me saying I’d be happy if he stuck around as a 4 or 5 hole pitcher, that’s a far cry from me calling him a flash in the pan. We’ll find out what level major league pitcher he is next year. But really CB … If he’s what we’re hoping for in a 1st or 2nd line starter, then our standards are a bit low aren’t they?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 28, 2019 at 8:54 pm

      Besides tonight’s 1st comment was referring to something he ‘said’. It had nothing to do with his abilities. So again, don’t read into things and make assumptions, and certainly, please don’t put words in my mouth. Respectfully.

    • Camden Brooks

      September 29, 2019 at 7:34 am

      I wasn’t referring to you, so lighten up Francis.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 29, 2019 at 8:46 am

      And don’t call me Francis.

      • Robinson Robinson Boog

        September 30, 2019 at 1:42 am

        Francis Scott Key?

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          September 30, 2019 at 12:27 pm

          It’s like I’m reading Bizarro Me?!?

  3. OriolesNumber1Fan

    September 28, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    I like Means a lot. Crafty left-hander in the Dave McNally mold of a pitcher. Him being a 4th or 5th starter would mean we would have a hell of a starting staff and that would be great!!! And I’m all in for that!!!

  4. ButchBird59

    September 29, 2019 at 10:44 am

    On Fall Ball: If you look at the future of this team as a 26-piece jigsaw puzzle, there are now 5 solid young pieces in place: Trey Mancini, Austin Hays, John Means, Anthony Santander (struggled late but, I still love him), and Hunter Harvey. For those four, I would say, “Have a nice Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with the family. Take care of yourself and we’ll see you in Florida.”

    • ButchBird59

      September 29, 2019 at 10:51 am

      Damn that editor timer! 🙁 I mean “those five” 🙂

    • Jbigle1

      September 29, 2019 at 12:12 pm

      I’m optimistic on all those guys but HH only threw6 big league innings. Hays doesn’t have 100 ABS. And even Santander doesn’t have a full season of ABS. I really like Hays and think he’s going to be a good player for a long time but we’ll see on that group. A bit too early to pencil them in as sure things.

      DJ has been playing better of late. I think there’s more upside there than Dwight Smith. Doubt he’s the solution long term but until Diaz is ready to go I don’t see anyone else in the .org that deserves a longer look.

  5. willmiranda

    September 29, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Another big win yesterday! Now, one more for the road. Let’s give ex-Oriole Rodriguez the Cashner treatment!

    • Robinson Robinson Boog

      September 30, 2019 at 1:43 am

      Treat em like dirty socks

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