BALTIMORE—After their three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays last weekend, the Orioles were 5-3 and appeared to have an advantage over their next opponent, the remade Miami Marlins.
Three games into a four games series, the Orioles have just 10 hits and one run—scored in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s second game.
On Wednesday, they played their first seven-inning doubleheader and were the visiting team in the second game, which they dropped, 2-1, to the Marlins, who had 18 new players because most of their team had tested positive for Covid-19.
The Orioles have missed third baseman Rio Ruiz, who is out with shoulder inflammation, and limited use of the team’s hottest hitter, José Iglesias, who hasn’t been able to play shortstop since July 29 because a left quad injury.
“They’re a big part of our club,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “And a big part of our defense on the left side, and Rio has been off to such a good start offensively. He’s been a run producer for us. Iggy not being healthy for a few days. Nice to get him back out there today. That’s a loss. Hopefully, both of those guys will be healthy soon, and you’ll see them out there regularly.”
Iglesias was the designated hitter in both games of the doubleheader while Andrew Velázquez (1-for-17, .059) was at short.
“It was a very positive day for me, moving around, pain-free,” Iglesias said. “[Thursday] we’ll see what skip wants to do, maybe DH me another game or so.”
Hyde benched slumping first baseman Chris Davis (1-for-19) in the second game.
He gave a second-game start to Cedric Mullins, who has shown improved skills in the outfield and on the bases but hasn’t shown growth at the plate (1-for-12, .083). DJ Stewart, who’s hitless in 14 at-bats, was pinch-hit for in the fourth inning by another scuffling outfielder, Austin Hays (.158).
After the game, Stewart was optioned to the Orioles’ alternate site in Bowie. That gets the Orioles to 28 players as they were required to by Thursday. Earlier in the day, starting pitcher John Means was placed on the bereavement list.
Hays drove in the Orioles’ only run in three games in the sixth when his chopper bounced off the gloves of third baseman Eddy Alvarez and shortstop Jonathan Villar.
Five Marlins pitchers limited the Orioles to four hits in seven innings. They’re 5-6.
“I don’t know if we’re trying too hard,” Hyde said. “I’m not sure what it is, to be honest with you. It’s one of those little funks that we’ve gone through in a couple of days. We swung the bat good against Tampa just a couple of days ago, had the offday and had a tough time putting a rally together or scoring a run these last three games.
“We’re not driving the baseball. Guys are trying to do too much and carrying too big of a load instead of just trying to get the next guy up, try to win every pitch. We’re having a tough time just getting on base to start a rally.”
Second-game starter Asher Wojciechowski was effective, giving up two runs in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Jesus Aguilar and an RBI single by Brian Anderson that was nothing more than a weak ground ball that avoided the shift. But Wojciechowski had no run support.
“I really like the way we’re pitching,” Hyde said. “I think our offense will come around. I don’t think we’re going to be scoring one run in three games. We’ve proven that we can score runs and we have swung the bat against really good pitchers.”
Wojciechowski allowed two runs on four hits in five innings.
“I threw the ball well other than [to] the leadoff batter,” Wojciechowski said. “I threw four noncompetitive pitches there, and I have to do a better job there.”
Because the Orioles weren’t able to play the Marlins in Miami last week, the second game of the doubleheader and Thursday’s game are designated as Marlins’ home games.
With Miami batting last, there was no fifth-inning stretch, as there was in the first game. Marlins hype videos and walkup songs were played.
“It was strange to have your home whites on and be the visitor in your home ballpark,” Hyde said. “But that didn’t have any [impact] on the game. We just didn’t swing the bat, we didn’t score runs. We pitched great today, both games, we just couldn’t get anything going offensively.”