Mountcastle walks twice in debut as Orioles lose sixth straight, 8-5; Outfield of the future? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Mountcastle walks twice in debut as Orioles lose sixth straight, 8-5; Outfield of the future?

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—The long-awaited debut of Ryan Mountcastle was uneventful and uplifting at the same time.

Mountcastle, a prospect Oriole fans have been eager to see since last season when the was the International League’s Most Valuable Player, finally arrived on Friday night.

He was hitless in two at-bats, walked twice, scored a run and caught two fly balls in the Orioles’ 8-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox, their sixth in a row.

The Orioles, who are 12-14, matched their six-game skid of September 3-10, 2019.

Mountcastle began the night by running out of the dugout to take the field only to realize that his teammates hadn’t followed him. He stopped when he realized he was alone, laughed and then waited for the rest of the Orioles to join him.

John Means started for just the fourth time of the year, and lasted three innings. In his last start on Sunday, he didn’t make it through the first inning, allowing three runs.

Again, he gave up three runs, but made it through the third inning.

“I felt really good tonight, and I felt every pitch was working except for the changeup,” Means said. “The story of this year, all my pitches look really good except for my changeup.”

Xander Bogaerts’ sixth home run of the season, his second in two nights, gave Boston a 1-0 lead in the second. J.D. Martinez hit a long home run to center that measured 431 feet, a two-run shot, in the third.

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Means allowed three runs on four hits in three and was relieved by Jorge López, who did the same on Sunday.

Lopez gave up a 447-foot three-run homer to Rafael Devers in the fifth and a two-run single by Michael Chavis in the sixth to run Boston’s lead to 8-0.

“We got beat by changeups,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.

After the Orioles left two runners on in the first, Mountcastle led off the second and walked. He was quickly erased when catcher Chance Sisco hit into a double play.

Two batters after Kevin Pillar made a spectacular diving catch on Pedro Severino foul ball in the fourth, Mountcastle struck out against Colten Brewer.

Brewer, making just the second start of his major league career, pitched four scoreless innings, giving up three hits.

One of the hits was Anthony Santander’s first-inning single that ran his hitting streak to 16 games, longest in the major leagues.

Mountcastle flied to right, ending the sixth and walked for the second time in the eighth.

“His debut, two walks,” Means said. “I think he might have walked 10 times in his whole minor league career and up here he has two walks in his first game, so I was giving him crap about that. But he’s going to be so good up here for a long time, so I have nothing but good things to say about him.”

Boston’s Darwinzon Hernandez pitched two shutout innings, and Josh Osich gave up back-to-back home runs to Pat Valaika and Cedric Mullins in the seventh. It was Valaika’s fourth and his second in two games, and Mullins’ first since September 18, 2018. It was Mullins’ first extra-base hit batting right-handed.

“It’s always fun playing with Ryan,” Mullins said. “I’ve been playing with him since Short-Season A ball, and we always have a great time.”

After Pedro Severino and Mountcastle walked in the eighth, Sisco hit a three-run home run against Osich, his fourth of the season, to cut Boston’s lead to 8-5. It was the second homer he’s hit against a left-hander.

Mountcastle walked 24 times for Triple-A Norfolk in 2019 and had just two two-walk games.

“I thought those were two good at-bats,” Hyde said. “Couple of good walks for him tonight.”

Mullins had three hits, his season high, and along with Mountcastle, Santander and Austin Hays, is giving the Orioles four interesting outfielders to look at for the remainder of 2020. Hays, who’s on the injured list because of a fractured rib, should be back in a week or two, Hyde said.

“We’re young. We’re inexperienced,” he said. “It’s fun to see talented guys out there, guys with tools. We’ve talked a lot about what Santander has done so far, loved the year he had last year and continued to really be an impact player in our game.

“Cedric has had some really nice at-bats this last week where he’s bunted for some hits. He’s played some nice defense, aggressive on the bases. He’s playing with some confidence, which is nice to see.

“It’s tough losing Austin. We saw what Hays did last September, and I think he was on track to start doing that again. That’s why it’s disappointing for him to miss this time because he’s a big part of our team.

“I like the package he brings, and the way he plays defense, competitiveness to his at-bats. He’s a really competitive guy. We’re on the right track, getting talented guys in the system. Some of these guys are starting to get to the big leagues, and probably getting a lot of playing time.”

Mullins is 10-for-21 (.476) since Sunday.

“I’d say the work I put into the offseason has made tremendous strides in my game in general,” Mullins said. “Just seeing when there’s an opportunity for me to just get on base any chance I get. Like today, I hit the long ball, but when we got to the point in the game when we needed runners I was able to lay the bunt down.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

42 Comments

42 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 22, 2020 at 7:13 am

    Mountcastle certainly looks the part of the Orioles future. The walks were encouraging but the hits will come.

    Mullins … to think that ya’ll almost had me ready to give up on this kid. Just watch the way he moves. He may have an Oriole future yet.

    Now let’s see Akins in a start or two, and possibly Kremer.

    Even in a loss, the future is looking brighter.

  2. Bhoffman1

    August 22, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Where does Diaz fit into this equation. To quote Dean Kremer ‘he’s a extremely toolsy guy. He can do just about everything.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 22, 2020 at 1:06 pm

      As I’ve tried to explain to you, Bruce, the Orioles want to take extanded looks at Mountcastle, Mullins and Santander in the outfield as well as Hays when he returns in a week or two. I don’t know where the playing time for Diaz would come. If there are injuries, then it’s a possibility, but Diaz has never played in Triple-A, and I think the lack of a minor league season has hurt him more than the others simply because he hasn’t played at as high a level.

  3. Orial

    August 22, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Could we be seeing the makings of a 4 man OF(Hays,Santander,Mullins,Mountcastle)after watching a 2 man(Santander/Hays) for weeks? Mountcastle’s 2 walks were an ironic touch of hope and Mullins might just be that sprout in a burnt out forest fire. Very poetic huh? Yes that enigma/mystery of Diaz continues. Pitchers back to giving up those 3 run bombs. Saw a quote where Alberto would swing at a throw to first. He has to call down.

  4. Birdman

    August 22, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Yes, looks like O’s may have a solid core of outfielders for the next several seasons … just one game, but impressed with Mountcastle’s plate discipline last night … with Mountcastle’s arrival, and Davis going on DL, wonder if they will finally throw in the towel on Crush? … Means’ continued struggles have to be a big worry – he is 5-12 since the 2019 All Star break.

    • CalsPals

      August 22, 2020 at 9:22 am

      Means has me concerned, I was excited about the uptick in speed, but he surely is struggling to pitch, would love to see some of the younger pitchers toe the rubber…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 22, 2020 at 2:45 pm

        I asked earlier this year if anybody had considered that last year may of been a career year for the young man. Everybody seemed to accept it a given that he was a solid starter … not sure why.

    • Birdman

      August 22, 2020 at 11:22 am

      correction – Means is 5-9 since 2019 All Star break

    • CalsPals

      August 22, 2020 at 3:30 pm

      Totally agree with you, maybe we’ve seen his best…go O’s…

  5. ptjhu

    August 22, 2020 at 9:27 am

    What about some of the OFs down on the Farm? I’m thinking Heston Kjerstad, Yusniel Diaz, Hudson Haskin and Kyle Stowers. All four were either top draft picks or the centerpiece of a major trade. And all four are pretty well-regarded.

    • Bhoffman1

      August 22, 2020 at 9:32 am

      None of them except Diaz will be ready next year. Everyone that played with him marvel at his skills 5 tool player. Where do we play him ?

    • dlgruber1

      August 22, 2020 at 10:28 am

      This has the potential to be a very good problem. Part of a rebuild is to have chips available to trade. If the O’s have an abundance of outfielders they can then make trades to get what they really need, which is pitching. This is exactly what needs to happen, stock your system with young talented players, choose which ones you feel are your future and trade others to bring in players who will become part of the next great team.

    • CalsPals

      August 22, 2020 at 10:48 am

      My guess is they’ll play Diaz in the infield…go O’s… go

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 22, 2020 at 11:05 am

        lol

        • Jbigle1

          August 22, 2020 at 11:58 am

          Boom boom is a prime trade candidate next year if he returns to old form. Mountcastle goes to 1B. Then you have Diaz, Santander, Hays, and Mullins serving as your 4th OFer.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 22, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      The Orioles want to build up as many prospects as they can, pt. You can also add Ryan McKenna and Zach Watson to that list. Play the best ones, and trade some to fill other needs. A good problem to have. .

  6. willmiranda

    August 22, 2020 at 11:02 am

    I can’t believe the optimism here after a listless defeat against a bottom team with possibly
    a worse pitching staff than our own. It was an 8-0 game. The late homers were the result of
    relievers tossing strikes to move the game along. When it got close, game over. As a couple
    mentioned, the collapse of our scheduled opening day starter should be more than a concern.
    I’m all for a positive attitude, but seeing our question mark outfielders suddenly become All Stars
    gives me a little whiplash. And I think it’s a tough season for making trades for prospects since
    the prospects aren’t playing anywhere and what makes players prospects is that they show rapid
    improvement from year to year.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 22, 2020 at 11:14 am

      Will … I don’t think ANYBODY is optimistic regarding this year. It’s all about next year and the year after. And yeah, we have a couple of outfielders that I believe will some day be all stars in Mountcastle & certainly Santander, although Mountcastle’s eventual place on this team will be 1st base.

      The pitching staff? Yeah it’s needs to be overhauled. But with what I read about our lower minor league hurlers, I don’t it’s that far from be accomplished.

    • AZ ORIOLES Fan

      August 22, 2020 at 11:52 am

      Agree with Boog we have live arms coming expectations for this year weren’t high but this club is competitive. They have no quit in them, I still think they will be close to .500

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 22, 2020 at 2:48 pm

        Az …with that staff, I have my doubts they’ll finish anywhere near .500. I’m doubting they reach 25 wins. I’m hoping that I’m wrong …. again.

  7. Bhoffman1

    August 22, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    Grayson can be a number one starter. Bausmann got a great arm too along with Hall. If Trey is not a lock at first base next year then I would give Mountcastle a lot of time there. Nunez and possibly Alberto should be traded. Remember Diaz also has a cannon as arm something that could be a liability for Ryan. I’m am also concerned about Means. What made him successful last year was his off speed pitches.

    • Bhoffman1

      August 22, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      Also what happened to Ruiz. He looked like a possible fixture at third base now he’s heading below the Mendoza line. Glad they drafted Coby Mayo who’s from Stoneman HS where they had that terrible mass shooting not far from where I live.

      • Rich Dubroff

        August 22, 2020 at 1:12 pm

        Bruce, I will be writing more about this in the coming days, but the one area where they don’t have enough prospects for 2020 and 2021 is the infield. Ruiz is the third baseman by default. They’re also missing Richie Martin, who could take pressure off Alberto and Ruiz.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          August 22, 2020 at 2:56 pm

          Rich, I’m thinking Rylan Bannon may be the next infielder they fast track. Am I totally off base thinking this?

    • Bhoffman1

      August 22, 2020 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks Rich. What’s your take on CD. Do you think they are trying to work out a buy out of his contract. There is nothing more they can do next off season to improve his performance and would he really want to go thru two more seasons like this.

      • Rich Dubroff

        August 22, 2020 at 1:32 pm

        Bruce, I think if something like that were to happen, it would be done after the season.

  8. Bhoffman1

    August 22, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    I don’t believe CD is really injured . I think they are trying to work something out with his agent to end this nightmare for him and us

    • Ekim

      August 22, 2020 at 1:25 pm

      We can hope… just saying…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 22, 2020 at 2:52 pm

        What they really need to do is pretend that they are a major league franchise and EAT the contract … just like Boston ate Pablo Sandoval’s a few years back.

    • CalsPals

      August 22, 2020 at 3:37 pm

      Only if a bruised ego counts as an injury…go O’s…

  9. Bancells Moustache

    August 22, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    Boy all that playoff run talk really died out…

  10. ClayDal

    August 22, 2020 at 3:18 pm

    Per MASN Roch, Orioles DFA Smith, select contract of Mason Williams. With the addition of Mountcastle, 2 less things to complain about. Now when are they bringing up Diaz?

    • Bhoffman1

      August 22, 2020 at 3:40 pm

      Made my day. Elias is hearing me. Kremer next.

    • ClayDal

      August 22, 2020 at 3:43 pm

      My money ( figuratively of course) is on Akin

    • Bhoffman1

      August 22, 2020 at 4:21 pm

      Don’t know why they sent him down after one appearance . Lopez I guess

  11. dlgruber1

    August 22, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    I had another dream:
    (A familiar voice)-“Welcome to Camden Yards where the surprise team of MLB 2023, your Baltimore Orioles, continue to be en fuego. With a MLB best 75-49 record they take on the 2nd place Yanks today. Here’s the O’s starting lineup. Hays leading off playing center, Alberto batting 2nd, playing 2nd, Mancini in the 3 spot at 1st base, Mountcastle DHing today batting cleanup, Rutschman doing the catching and batting 5th, Kjerstad 6th and in left field. The bottom three are Santander hitting 7th in right field, Ruiz 8th at 3rd and Henderson is batting last and playing shortstop. Pitching today and going for his 15th win against only 4 losses will be Grayson Rodriguez, or GrayRod as O’s fans call him.” Then it hit me-I know that voice. It’s John Miller back with the O’s! Then the phone rings and wakes me up. It’s my wife saying “I’m at the store, do you want anything?” SLEEPING PILLS I screamed into the phone.

    • CalsPals

      August 22, 2020 at 3:39 pm

      Perfectly hysterical…might not be far off…go O’s…

  12. Bhoffman1

    August 22, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Didn’t Sisco hit a homer against a lefty last night wasn’t his homer before that against a lefty yet he’s out of the lineup tonight. Please explain Hyde’s thinking

    • ClayDal

      August 22, 2020 at 4:34 pm

      Cisco seems to be playing 2 out of every 3 games. 1 at DH, 1 at C. Guess they think he is more effective that way. Look at Ruiz. He’s been playing everyday and it’s starting to show. Same with Alberto. Having 3 catchers allows the Orioles to keep Cisco and Severino fresh

    • Bhoffman1

      August 22, 2020 at 4:46 pm

      He has very few at bats so far in this season don’t buy that one. He’s 25 years old. Severino could catch tonight and he could DH. It’s just that crazy righty lefty thing . He’s hitting lefties better the righties

    • CalsPals

      August 22, 2020 at 4:48 pm

      Agree, his last 2 homers have been against lefties…go O’s…

    • ClayDal

      August 22, 2020 at 5:09 pm

      Tomorrow is a day game after a night game, so Cisco will catch against the RH. The Orioles aren’t going to keep 3 catchers forever. Might not keep them next week. Try to keep the entire roster engaged and refreshed. And this way, Cisco is available to PH when the Red Sox bring in a RH. They aren’t going to bury Cisco

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