PHILADELPHIA—Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has to use his bullpen differently in 2020. There’s a new rule, and it’s one that was going to be in effect before the pandemic: A pitcher must face at least three batters or end an inning.
It minimizes the left-handed specialist like Brian Matusz, who’d come in to face David Ortiz, frustrate the Boston slugger and leave the game.
Hyde acknowledged the rule has been a factor.
“It’s come into play,” Hyde said. “There’s been times where I probably would have liked another matchup in the bullpen, on a handful of occasions.
“I like the rule. I just would like to be able to change my pitcher when they pinch-hit for their hitter. I think it’s interesting. I think it’s a feel-out process going through this the first time. I had no idea how it would look like early on. Now I’m getting used to it.”
Scott’s improvement: Reliever Tanner Scott’s stats are promising.
While control has always been an issue, and he’s walked three in five innings, the 26-year-old left-hander has given up just two hits.
After his scoreless two-thirds of an inning on Tuesday night in the Orioles’ 10-9 victory over the Phillies, Scott’s ERA is 1.80.
“I’d probably say confidence,” Scott said of the reason for his improvement in a video conference call on Wednesday.
“I’m just going out there and not thinking about anything other than one pitch at a time, going out there and getting outs and attacking.”
Scott has always had an impressive fastball and slider. In parts of four seasons, he’s averaged 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings, but this season he’s been better.
“I’m just trying to go out there and use my best stuff,” Scott said. “Go out there and attack hitters, pitch one, pitch two and just try to get after it. Whenever they use me, I’m ready from the first to the ninth, as long as they need us. If we go to extra innings, I’m ready to go. Call my name, I’m ready.”
After the trade of Richard Bleier to Miami on July 31st, Scott and Paul Fry became the only left-handers in the bullpen. They’ve since been joined by Keegan Akin, who has yet to appear in a game.
This is the first time that Scott hasn’t had a veteran left-hander to mentor him.
“Zack [Britton], when I came up, he was the guy I looked up to the most,” Scott said. “Then we had Richard. Me and Paul, that’s my guy. Me and him are probably best friends. We go out there and talk about how our stuff plays against this hitter.”
Scott has worked closely with pitching coach Doug Brocail and bullpen coach Darren Holmes.
“When I came into spring, [Brocail] and Holmes really just talked about going out there with one pitch at a time,” Scott said. “Taking one pitch, then to the next. Not, ‘oh, I did this. Oh, I did that.’ Go out there with one pitch and let it go out there with everything you’ve got.”
Iglesias’ quad injry: Shortstop José Iglesias is back in the Orioles lineup after not starting the past two games. Iglesias has been battling a sore left quadriceps muscle.
“It might be like this for a while,” Hyde said. “We’re going to manage it the best we can the next month-and-a-half. It’s just going to be a daily conversation between me and him on how he’s feeling.
“I think we’ve done a pretty good job of managing it so far, and we’ll continue to do that going forward.”