Orioles waste opportunities and pitch to Grichuk as Blue Jays complete sweep; Red Sox on deck - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles waste opportunities and pitch to Grichuk as Blue Jays complete sweep; Red Sox on deck

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—This will be remembered as the series in which the Orioles made the strategic mistake of continuing to pitch to a red-hot Randal Grichuk, compounding their own mistakes on the field.

Grichuk homered twice on Wednesday, including a two-run shot in the sixth that turned a 2-1 Orioles lead into a 3-2 deficit on the way to a 5-2 loss, their fourth in a row. Grichuk hit four home runs in three games.

Grichuk gave Toronto a 1-0 lead with his fifth homer of the season in the second against Orioles starter Tommy Milone. It was his two-run homer off Milone in the sixth that changed the game. Milone left a pitch out over the plate, and Grichuk hit his 16th homer in 33 games against the Orioles.

“We’re having a tough time keeping the ball in the ballpark on him,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s taking some really good at-bats on us, made some decent pitches.”

The Orioles had an opportunity in the first when Chance Sisco, who became their first catcher to lead off since Floyd Rayford on June 26, 1985, walked against Tanner Roark. Anthony Santander extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a double, but Sisco was thrown out at the plate on Renato Nuñez’s bouncer to third. Rio Ruiz struck out and Hanser Alberto grounded to second.

“We made a couple of mistakes there,” Hyde said. “One is [Sisco] on third base needs to stay. You need to know yourself, too. If it’s [Andrew Velázquez, it’s a little bit different. If it’s an average or below-average runner at the corner, you’ve got to be sure.

“Second thing is that if the runner in front of you goes on that, you need to advance to third base, and we didn’t do that, either. Two mistakes in one in that first inning.”

It came on the heels of Dwight Smith Jr.’s base-running blunder in the 10th inning Tuesday night when he ran through a stop sign by his third base coach and was caught in a rundown as the Orioles lost, 8-7.

In the second inning on Wednesday, Smith and Pat Valaika singled, but Chris Davis was called out on strikes, Cedric Mullins popped to second and Sisco flied to center.

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“Today, for me, wasn’t one of our better games,” Hyde said. “Tommy Milone pitched very, very well. He really gave us a chance to win. Just a couple of balls that Grichuk hit that hurt.

“We shot ourselves in the foot early on by making some mistakes [on] the bases, poor approach with runners on the bases in scoring position that could have made it a lot easier on Tommy, but didn’t.”

Alberto doubled to begin the fourth. Smith singled to right, but Teoscar Hernandez overran the ball for a two-base error, allowing Alberto to score. Valaika’s single scored Smith. Mullins singled to left, and alertly took second when leftfielder Anthony Alford threw to third. Valaika was thrown out at the plate to end the inning when Sisco flied to right.

Ruiz and Alberto had two-out singles in the fifth and advanced to third on Reese McGuire’s passed ball, but Smith popped to center to end the inning.

Grichuk’s second home run of the game gave Toronto the lead for good in the sixth.

“He was on some kind of fire against us,” Milone said. “He’s been hitting well, anyways, but I think the power numbers had just shot up at the wrong time for us to face him. He’s just hot, and he hit a couple of mistakes I left out across the plate. When someone’s hot like that, and they’re hitting a bunch of homers, that’s what’s going to happen. That’s what he did.”

Milone allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out seven without walking a batter.

Roark allowed two runs, one of them unearned, in five innings but was helped when the Orioles left seven and were 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

“When we were winning, we were stringing like five, six, seven at-bats together,” Valaika said. “Lately, it’s been a little hit or miss on that.

“I think anytime you get those opportunities, you’ve got to cash in. They’ve got a good bullpen, and when you’ve got those chances, you’ve got to make the most of them.”

Against Toronto’s relievers, the Orioles had just one more runner in scoring position and left three more on base.

“We didn’t have very many good approaches with runners in scoring position today, which we have had,” Hyde said. “A lot of times we got ourselves out, early swings, things that we have not been doing.”

Brandon Drury’s sacrifice fly to center against Thomas Eshelman in the eighth scored Travis Shaw to give Toronto a 4-2 lead.

In the ninth, Smith overran Cavan Biggio’s pop fly in left for a double. Biggio scored on Lourdes Gurriel’s single against Paul Fry.

After Roark left, Ryan Borucki, Tom Hatch and Rafael Dolis shut down the Orioles. In the ninth, Mullins, who recently has been a bright spot, bunted for a base hit and Santander, the biggest bright spot of late, walked with two outs.

Dolis struck out Davis, who fanned three times for the first out, Sisco for the second and Renato Nuñez to end the game. The Orioles are 12-12.

Evaluating prospects: With such a 60-game season, the Orioles might not have time to evaluate prospects such as first baseman/outfielder Ryan Mountcastle or pitchers Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer if they’re summoned from the alternate site at Bowie,

“I’m not sure, to be honest with you,” Hyde said. “In a normal season, guys come up in September and have really good Septembers and struggle the next year and vice versa. If and when those guys come back and come up, we’re going to give them a look and continue to evaluate them in spring training next year, But, can I make a decision on somebody in a month, that’s pretty unfair.”

Coming up: The Orioles play the Boston Red Sox four times at Camden Yards, beginning Thursday night. Asher Wojciechowski, John Means, Alex Cobb and Wade LeBlanc are scheduled to pitch for the Orioles. Boston will start Nathan Eovaldi on Thursday, Martin Perez on Saturday and Zach Godley on Sunday. Boston hasn’t decided on its Friday night pitcher.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

52 Comments

52 Comments

  1. Bancells Moustache

    August 19, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    It’s time for Elias and the Angelos brothers to make the most brilliant move of the rebuild: offer whatever price Toronto cares to name for Randal Grichuk. Seriously, how does this guy turn into 1956 Mickey Mantle whenever he sees an Oriole uniform?!

    • CalsPals

      August 19, 2020 at 6:04 pm

      Toronto’s version of Torres from the Yankees…go O’s…

  2. ClayDal

    August 19, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Not to quibble with you Rich, but Dwight Smith Jr. didn’t overrun Biggio’s pop up in the 9th. He missed it.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 19, 2020 at 5:49 pm

      Ok, John, I’ll buy that.

  3. beritsun

    August 19, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    It’s time for Mountcastle to get a shot at first! How much longer do we have to watch Davis there and at bat?!?

    • Birdman

      August 19, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      Not sure if Mountcastle is appropriate for 1B (its my understanding that they are trying to develop him as a left fielder), but I agree that its time to move on completely from Davis. Even playing Bryan Holaday at 1B, would be a substantial upgrade.

      • Bancells Moustache

        August 19, 2020 at 6:27 pm

        Birdman, I’ve thought that same thing, but the man won the International League MVP as a First Baseman not 12 months ago. He can’t be any worse than Nunez. My thought is they want him to keep getting reps in the outfield because they plan on having Mancini back at first next year.

        • Jbigle1

          August 19, 2020 at 6:53 pm

          Yep. Mountcastle is basically the equivalent athletically to Mancini though. 2 1B/DH’s who probably shouldn’t be shagging fly balls.

    • 33d St

      August 19, 2020 at 10:48 pm

      Agree. Why can’t he practice LF before games and play 1b/DH during? Why does he need to stay in the minors JUST to learn LF when his bat is never going to get more ready? Good grief. The Nats call up 19 year olds. Meanwhile we get a minor league MVP and are all “I think he needs more work.” Auuuggghhh!!!!

    • NormOs

      August 20, 2020 at 8:27 am

      I really don’t believe Hyde has anything to do with Davis playing or not. No MLB manager would ever play this guy. He is being ordered to play Davis. They have to pay him, but they don’t have to play him. He has to have an effect on the other guys in the lineup. Eight against nine.

  4. Bhoffman1

    August 19, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    We are 500 now. We have some really nice players be bold Elias. Everything you have tried with CD has failed release him and us from his misery. He will never walk away so just pay him and maybe he will continue to donate some more to good charities. Let Mountcastle play first. He’s gotta be more nimble then Nunez. Release Smith he is just awful in the field. Let’s not get below 500.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 19, 2020 at 6:08 pm

      BHoff … you seem to be missing the point when you ask Elias to release Chris Davis. You see, Chris Davis is the PERFECT piece and excuse when you’re tanking.

      • Jbigle1

        August 19, 2020 at 6:57 pm

        I think Elias is indifferent to winning at this stage. Not necessarily actively wanting to lose ballgames. And as I always tell you guys I don’t think Elias has the green light to get rid of Davis.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          August 19, 2020 at 8:07 pm

          No I don’t think he has the green light either. However, when he took the job, but he & the Angelos boys swore he had autonomy to run the team as he saw fit. Typical doublespeak.

        • Birdman

          August 19, 2020 at 8:55 pm

          My guess is that the Angelos sons feel that releasing Davis outright would be an act of disrespect to their father, by publicly acknowledging their father’s blunder, and the sons are unwilling to take that step.

    • Bhoffman1

      August 19, 2020 at 7:23 pm

      J bigle you said it perfectly he is indifferent to winning now, but the players are not. A very difficult scenario.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 19, 2020 at 8:08 pm

        I think he’d like another number one or two pick. Certainly a very high pick. Hell, we have FANS here that actively root for the O’s to lose for a draft position’s sake.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 19, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Unfortunately, even retired old men can’t catch every game. So perusing the box score it looks like we wasted another decent start by Milone. Can’t have that.

    I also see my boy Sisco had a big goose egg, dropping his average to .270. Does this mean that Hyde is not the super genius that big Ben suggested he is for moving Chance into the lead off spot?

    If ya’ll hadn’t noticed, my man Mullin’s average is up to .259 and esta en fuego!! So I ask … is it time for Mullins to bat at the top of the order?

    And the team is looking more and more like we expected before the season started and Tank Elias’ master plan is playing out. Maybe the Under at 20 will come through yet.

    I know .. my typical knee jerk reactions to the last game played. These things tend to even out over 162. But 60? Remember … it’s the BizzarO year.

    • CalsPals

      August 19, 2020 at 6:28 pm

      I also questioned putting Sisco in the lead off spot, first games he has ever played batting #1…hard to figure some of these moves out, especially anything involving CD…go O’s…

      • Jbigle1

        August 19, 2020 at 6:55 pm

        Who’s your lead off hitter fellas?

        Alberto? Mullins certainly hasn’t earned his way up there.

        • Jbigle1

          August 19, 2020 at 7:01 pm

          Long term I think Sisco is an ideal #2 hitter. High OBP guy who has the ability to post a decent BA as well. There’s really no great lead off man on this team as it stands today.

        • Bancells Moustache

          August 19, 2020 at 7:43 pm

          Lead off hitter is the same as my 2-6 hitters: not on the roster yet.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            August 19, 2020 at 8:42 pm

            Not a Santander believer?

          • Bancells Moustache

            August 19, 2020 at 9:21 pm

            Yes Boog… in the 7 hole.

    • Bhoffman1

      August 19, 2020 at 7:28 pm

      Even when Sisco lays a golden egg he seems to draw a full count every time. Maybe he should be a little more aggressive he needs also to strike out less. Mullins did have 2 hits one a bunt it’s getting better but no extra base hits or RBi’s yet. Seriously maybe a second baseman but not the power numbers you need from a center fielder

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 19, 2020 at 8:16 pm

        Imagine that … a bunt …nothing wrong with the art of bunting my friend. Ask the Blade. (god rest his sole)

        The rest of the league would be well advised to practice it. If players could only bunt, the shift would be history.

    • CalsPals

      August 19, 2020 at 8:14 pm

      I don’t see anyone here now, I’m not big on changing the entire line up, it seems almost every game, Mullins, Hays? Have no idea where Mountcastle batted last yr, hate to throw him out like that but he’s quickly get at bats, Iglesias when he gets healthy maybe, I totally agree Sisco looks like a 2 hitter…go O’s…

    • Phil770

      August 20, 2020 at 10:47 am

      Sisco hurt them yesterday, Boog. Base running blunder and struck out once or twice with runners on. Do agree that with Smith’s poor defense, it would make more sense for RM to be in LF and Smith at Bowie learning how to play LF. He totally misplayed a simply fly ball that even Ben said on the telecast that it was a simple, fly ball that a major leaguer catches. Agree to cut Davis, not sure that it’s as simple as we would like to think. CD is the O’s union rep and not sure if there aren’t limits, either real or political, that comes into play. I actually think there is a way to save face all around – CD should opt-out for the rest of the season because of COVID anxiety.

    • CalsPals

      August 20, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      Santander in the 7 spot, sounds crazy to me, 2 or 3 is what I think…go O’s…

  6. AZ ORIOLES Fan

    August 19, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    When we were winning it solid pitching and defense coupled with timely hitting. Our defense this series wasn’t at its best and we still need improvement in situational hitting. I expect improvements this weekend

  7. Bhoffman1

    August 19, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    With every passing game and loss it’s imperative to have your best players in the field. Mountcastle should be a first baseman DH and left fielder. Even though he’s still on the team it’s obvious they have moved on from Davis. The lineup is so much better without Davis but adding Mountcastle could make a whole world of difference. To develop he needs to face major league hitting situations.

  8. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 19, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    I’m telling ya’ll …. it’s Mullins time! Bwahahaaahahaaaaa.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 19, 2020 at 8:18 pm

      The champagne of center fielders ….

    • Bhoffman1

      August 19, 2020 at 8:32 pm

      I will toast you when he gets his first extra base hit and rbi. Mike Trout is looking over his shoulder in CF. Lol

  9. dlgruber1

    August 19, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    I had the strangest dream last night. Elias was at Bowie talking to players when RM asked him when he might be called up. This was the conversation:
    RM-“Hey boss, any ideas how much longer I’ll be here?”
    Elias-“We want your to work on plate discipline.”
    RM-“We’re not playing any games.”
    Elias-“We need your to take more pitches, walk more and strike out less.”
    RM-“We’re not playing any games.”
    Elias-“For example, in the game you played in summer training you swung at the first pitch.”
    RM-“I hit a home run.”
    Elias-“I know but that’s not the point. You need to be more selective.”
    RM-“All we’re doing here is BP. Not much to be selective about.”
    Elias-“I know it’s not easy but we’ve also gotta see what we have with DJ, Cedric and some others.”
    RM-“So, maybe not this season?”
    Elias-“Hard to say. I’m not gonna promise anything. We’d hate to rush you at such a young age.”
    RM-“Soto and Garcia are both 20.”
    Elias-“Gotta go, anything else?”
    RM-“Yeh, trade me to the Nats.”

    • Bhoffman1

      August 19, 2020 at 9:58 pm

      Great

    • 33d St

      August 19, 2020 at 10:51 pm

      Golf clap

    • CalsPals

      August 20, 2020 at 10:05 am

      And Adley is sitting there, listening, shaking his head…go O’s…

  10. Bhoffman1

    August 19, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    And can Diaz come along with me don’t worry you still have a bunch of utility infielders from waivers and a guy from Mexico who can play the outfield

    • Bhoffman1

      August 20, 2020 at 8:38 am

      Oh I forgot to mention Fernando Tatis is 21 years old. He’s hit 12 homers and doesn’t walk a lot . I’m sure San Diego would trade a few prospects for me who you can keep at Bowie for the next few years

      • VICTORTEE

        August 20, 2020 at 10:09 am

        Don’t forget that Acuna and Albies on the Braves are also very young (younger than Mountcastle) and VERY good.

        • Phil770

          August 20, 2020 at 12:55 pm

          Guys, I’d like to see RM as well, but compared to Tatis and others mentioned, there is not really a comparison. Those guys can actually play defense fairly well. RM does not have a position for which he is considered adequate; he was not even ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 after he won the MVP. Still think RM should be up and playing LF. Send Smith to Bowie.

    • Bhoffman1

      August 20, 2020 at 10:24 am

      They want to win now. Elias wants to win later. Hyde has no say that’s what it is about

  11. willmiranda

    August 20, 2020 at 10:43 am

    I don’t know the exact chronology, but I think that for much of this losing streak we’ve missed Iglesias and Hays.I think their presence makes a difference in close games, of which there have been some. I concede Hays’s offense has not been strong, but his defense is a galaxy above the recent outfield keystone kops. And Iglesias impressed offensively and defensively. Surrendering fewer infield singles to the shortstop position would make a difference, and a third bat after two men get on would add a run or two to some games. We have some competent players, but the team is weak. Even average to good teams roll out major league journeymen as replacements; we have minor league journeymen.

  12. musicmanjr

    August 20, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Not sure whether Brandon Hyde or the pitching coach made the decision to pitch to the Red Hot Randal Grichuk. Maybe Hyde knows something about Tommy Milone that the rest of us don’t know. What I CAN’T understand is how Chris “Crush” Davis is still in the lineup.
    Shouldn’t matter that $20-$30 million is remaining on his contract. Send him to the Alternate site at Bowie to work on his swing, make contact with the ball, or learn to hit to the opposite field. Really love his fielding, but the man is an embarrassment with a bat in his hands.

    • Phil770

      August 20, 2020 at 12:38 pm

      CD has 2 years @ $23M/year, so not counting this year, $46M remaining on his contract. Doesn’t mean that he should not be DFA’d (I don’t think Bowie is an option as he would still be holding down a spot that is needed for top prospects. I still think the best alternative to cutting CD is for him to opt-out for this season due to the virus. Whatever hitting mojo he had in March got wiped out by the delay.

  13. Phil770

    August 20, 2020 at 11:01 am

    Guys, the IF yesterday wasn’t a pretty sight either. Ruiz batting .200, Valiaka (sp) at ss batting .220, Alberto at 2B in a hitting funk and CD at 1B. Fielding at 3B and 1B pretty decent, not so much 2B and SS, but not a major league infield.

  14. Phil770

    August 20, 2020 at 12:56 pm

    Guys, I’d like to see RM as well, but compared to Tatis and others mentioned, there is not really a comparison. Those guys can actually play defense fairly well. RM does not have a position for which he is considered adequate; he was not even ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 after he won the MVP. Still think RM should be up and playing LF. Send Smith to Bowie.

    • Bhoffman1

      August 20, 2020 at 2:14 pm

      Does Smith play LF adequate? RM could rotate at 1st base , DH and left field. Bringing up a guy from the Mexican league with no major league experience and Hyde says he can also play the outfield, we already have two of those players isn’t that enough but bringing up true outfielders with potential like Diaz is out of the question because they don’t have enough experience.

      • Phil770

        August 20, 2020 at 2:28 pm

        No, Smith does not play defense well enough to be in front of RM. I think you leave RM in LF for the rest of the season, no 1B (maybe DH). I think we suffer through with Nunez at 1st with Sisco as DH when not catching. Next year, Mancini should be at 1B (his natural position), if healthy. RM has moved from SS, to 3B, to 1B already. Been working in LF in an effort to find a position in the O’s line-up. We will lose some games because of his lack of defensive skill in LF, hopefully will win much more because of his bat.

  15. Bhoffman1

    August 20, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    Smith is our new DH . I guess Elias doesn’t want him to embarrass himself in the field anymore. Valaika who a few weeks ago Hyde said was hesitant to play him in the outfield is our starting infielder in the left tonight. Boston is pretty pathetic maybe a chance for a win tonight even with our weak lineup

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